Sunday, February 03, 2008

49 years ago today, the music died -- or did it?

We might not hear much about it today -- it being the national holiday of Super Bowl Sunday and all -- but one year from today, expect plenty of references to The Day The Music Died.

Forty-nine years ago today -- Feb. 3, 1959 -- Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper Richardson and Ritchie Valens died when the plane in which they were riding crashed shortly after takeoff from Mason City, Iowa. They were part of the Winter Dance Party troupe, which played the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, the night of Feb. 2.

You might know the story: Holly, tired of riding the drafty tour bus, commissioned a plane to fly them to Fargo, N.D., for their next show in neighboring Moorhead, Minn. He invited Richardson and Valens to come along. (Waylon Jennings had given up his seat at the last minute to Richardson, who was ill and desperately needed some rest.)

About 1 a.m., with 21-year-old Roger Peterson, who had more than four years of experience, at the controls, the plane crashed shortly after takeoff in a farm field.

In his No. 1 song of 1972, "American Pie," Don McLean described the event as "the day the music died." Did the music die that day? Not really, but the tragic loss of three rock 'n' roll stars certainly became a checkpoint on the timeline of popular music.

What is your favorite Buddy Holly song? Take the poll to the upper right.

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