Two days ago, February 3rd, was an eventful day in the history of rock and roll. It was possibly the “Day the Music Died,” since 56 years earlier, in 1959, a plane crash in Iowa killed musicians, Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (a/k/a The Big Bopper) and Ritchie Valens. We were nearly there-quarters through the baby boom years.
The Rolling Stone published an article in its February 2nd 2015 edition that the musician Buddy Holly had hired to play bass on that tour was supposed to be on the fated airplane, but gave up his seat to Richardson, who was suffering from the flu. Holly joked with that still-living musician and told him he hoped the bus broke down. The bass player’s response was, “I hope your ol’ plane crashes.”
That bass player, country legend, Waylon Jennings, was haunted by his statement for years, stating in an interview, decades later, “God almighty, for years I thought I caused it.” Another legend-to-be, Dion DiMucci, the lead for Dion and the Belmonts, was on that tour and decided not to spend $36 to be on that same plane because it was exactly the same amount as his parents were currently paying for their monthly apartment rent.
Buddy Holly, and his band, “The Crickets,” was on the “Winter Dance Party” tour. It was scheduled for appearances in 24 mid-western cities in three weeks, starting on January 29, 1959. Following the plane crash, the tour continued, with Bobby Vee selected to replace Holly on subsequent show.
A good friend, who has chronicled the history of rock and roll from its start in the early 1950’s, claims the music actually died in 1993. That’s when the combined sales of country and western music and rap recordings exceed the sales of rock and roll recordings. My friend has produced a hand printed scroll, including drawings, which memorializes his knowledge. Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame actually approached him to get the scroll at some point. My friend, not so respectfully, told them NO!