The tragic death of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens

The day the the music died, that’s how the the day of the tragic accident that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson is remembered.

The tragedy happened in 1959 in Iowa, just minutes after the takeoff of the airplane in Mason City, on a flight bound for Moorehead, Minnesota. According to investigations, bad weather and pilot error caused the accident. Holly chartered a plane to his band because of technical problems on the bus. On the day of the accident, a seat became vacant and Ritchie Valens won the “heads or tails” flipping the coin, securing his place on the plane.

Buddy Holly was 22 years old when he died. He and his band were in full swing, performing show openings for such figures as Elvis Presley.

The musicians had a radio show and were touring internationally, playing hits such as “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!”, “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all of his songs and influenced artists like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. Another victim, JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a DJ in Texas and was later composing songs. His most famous recording is the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace” which entered the charts.

The third famous victim of the crash was Ritchie Valens. He was only 17 when the plane crashed, but was already well-known for hits like “Come On, Lets Go,” “Donna” and “La Bamba.” In 1987, Valens’ life was portrayed in the film La Bamba and the title song, sung by Los Lobos, became the leader of the hit charts. Valens was posthumously inducted into the 2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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