February 3, 2009

It was 50 years ago today: The Day the Music Died.

"A four-seat airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) crashed into a cornfield eight miles north of Clear Lake, Iowa."

41 comments:

Pogo said...

When I was in high school, I listened to every recording Buddy Holly made, over and over again.

Old film is like an apparition, a specter of the dead among us, though comforting.

In December I watched an aging Don McLean sing his most famous tune, and nearly everyone in the audience of 3000 stood up and sang along.

Strange, these connections people have to each other.

traditionalguy said...

The rock and roll government (RCA, Sun, Decca, etal.)has covered up the TRUTH that Elvis sent a hit team disguised as everyday Iowa farmboys to sabotage the airplane. Elvis and the his owners were not afraid of the Big Bopper, he could be controlled, but Buddy Holly and the Crickets were a threat to the new King. Their Texas clean cut look might easily have out sold the strange Elvis image in 1950's American culture, thus foiling the coming king's reign. And Buddy made better music. Thus began the sad Baby Boomer slide into the JFK, Bobby, and MLK, deaths all in ten tragic years. No wonder we needed drugs.Only a British intervention group, disguised as Beetles, could cheer us up.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, it's still raining in my heart.

Earth Girl said...

"Peggy Sue" still makes this 59 year old get up and dance. I was struck by the young women behind him that weren't even tapping their toes!

traditionalguy said...

"You say your gonna leave me, you know it's a lie, the day you go away will be the day that I die." But we still never left him.

HelenParr said...

I love that little hiccup when he sings. Roy Orbison did that, too.

'The three men I admire most, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, caught the last train for the coast the day the music died.'

Original George said...

What a freaky insane video...the smarmy hostess, the frozen petticoat girls in the background, the tuxes, the hiccup.

It was August 28, 1976, when the Pistols sang about "Anarchy." Time flies when you're destroying things.

Now we've come full circle with multigazillionaire Bruce 'Grecian Formula' Springsteen, 59, doing a Wal-Mart exclusive deal and then apologizing, as if he didn't know what was happening. And changing the lyrics of his songs to please the NFL so he could be on the Super Bowl whose occurrence just happened to coincide with the release of his new album. We're all getting played by guys like him.

Meade said...

Stupid Roger Peterson.

I know it's poor form to speak ill of the dead but I can't help myself. Really, what a complete idiot. Know your limit, stay within in it. The fool knew his limit and knowingly went beyond, taking three innocent lives with him.

Ron said...

I really love "Everyday"; my fav Holly tune.

HelenParr said...

I wonder if Waylon Jennings had survivor's guilt?

John said...

Marshall Crenshaw can probably do the best Buddy Holly imitation of anyone. I saw him at the 9:30 Club in Washington back in the 90s and he did an electric guitar only version of Rave On and it was almost as if Buddy's ghost entered the room.

One piece of trivia Ann, did you know that a teenage Bob Dylan attended either the second or third to the last show Holly ever gave? Isn't that a wierd meeting of history?

John said...

"I wonder if Waylon Jennings had survivor's guilt?"


Yes he did. I watched an interview with Jennings one time. Jennings said that he joked with Holly before he left to the airport and told him "well I hope your plane crashes" because Holly had gotten the last seat on the plane and Jennings was stuck riding a freezing bus.

kynefski said...

What I liked about the video was how, at 0:38, you see, and immediately recognize, The Rock and Roller. It's like an archetype.

Ron said...

Waylon Jennings, channel his Dark Lord, I see.

I love how Holly proposed to his wife the day he met her, and she said yes. It wasn't over health care benefits; perhaps it should have been over life insurance.

MadisonMan said...

There was an interesting story in the local paper over the weekend about the weather in the midwest during Holly's ill-fated tour back in 1959, and how the freezing cold -- and lousy buses with broken heaters -- prompted them to rent a plane. Didn't realize how much weather played a role in snuffing out his music.

SteveR said...

Almost 49 years later that's where John Edwards' run for the presidency died.

Bissage said...

I know this all happened before my time but, still, I really fail to see what any of this has to do with Gary Busey.

k*thy said...

Yeah, love that hiccup.

k*thy said...

You didn't get played, it's called advertising.

Mark O said...

Arthur Murray’s Dance Party. Wow.

That song, as he performed it that day, is so clean and strong and compelling. He’s backed by a stand up bass and a rather perfunctory drummer. Is it no wonder that so many of us locked ourselves in our rooms or cleaned out a garage thinking we could actually play rock and roll. We could and we did; not like that, of course, but well enough to take a highly personal interest in the life of the music. It was accessible to even the novice musician. It was engaging and it confounded even the host of the Dance Party.

Rock on.

Modern Otter said...

What a freaky insane video...the smarmy hostess, the frozen petticoat girls in the background, the tuxes, the hiccup.

Yeah-- and it's Arthur Freakin' Murray's Dance Party, but nobody's freakin' dancing.

Richard Fagin said...

From "American Graffiti":

John Milner character: I don't like that surfin' sh**

Teenybopper: Don't you think the Beach Boys are boss?

John Milner character: Ahh, rock n' roll's been goin' downhill ever since Buddy Holly died.

How true.

....and one of my all time favorite ever movie scenes from "The Buddy Holly Story", as the curtain rose on Buddy and the Crickets at the Apollo Theater, you heard the quite audible gasp from the all-black audience, and Buddy, regaining his composure, saying, "Well we weren't expecting y'all either."

Please don't forget Richie Valens in this deal. When the movie "La Bamba" came out in the late '80s, the ex wife and I went to see it at the Ayers Theater in Corpus Christi, TX. We almost bought the tickets until the clerk told us THAT version was in Spanish. I'm still laughing at that. I've been around just long enough to appreciate what a big, big deal it was for Valens to popularize a very old mariachi standard at a time when Mexicans were really treated like garbage.

Larry said...

I was stationed at a remote radar site in St. Anthony, Newfoundland (USAF)when I heard the news of the airplane crash. I, like many others of my buddies, was stunned at the news. I went through basic training singing "Wake up Little Suzie". Under my breath, of course. The music may not have died, but for me, it went to sleep for a time.

John said...

"I went through basic training singing "Wake up Little Suzie". Under my breath, of course. The music may not have died, but for me, it went to sleep for a time."

Larry, the Everly Brothers did that one. They were still alive and well and in the Marine Corps in the early 60s.

fcai said...

Saw the Buddy Holly movie. Saw the Richie Valens movie. Am waiting for the Big Bopper movie. Then one could have a plane crash trifecta.

Fookin' Buddy Holly deathplane, to quote Billy Connolly.

Larry said...

"Larry, the Everly Brothers did that one. They were still alive and well and in the Marine Corps in the early 60s."

Of course it was The Everly Brothers! It was "That'll Be The Day" at that time. It all runs together after 50 years.

Justin said...

Bissage said...

I know this all happened before my time but, still, I really fail to see what any of this has to do with Gary Busey.

Well, Gary Busey was in The Firm with Tom Cruise, who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.

Michael H said...

Hellllllooo baaaaaybeeeee! Don't forget that The Big Bopper also died on that day.

I still tell my wife -

There ain't nothing in this worl'
Like a big-eyed girl
Make me act real funny
Make me spend my money
Make me feel real loose
Like a long-neck'd goose
Oh baby that's what I like

reader_iam said...

Man, those girls' dresses look exactly like the ones in my parents' wedding pictures (married 1959).

Love that music. My parents hated it, though. Freaks. ; )

Meade said...

You're saying you come by it honestly, reader?
*ducks* *covers head* *flies away at very low altitude*

Modern Otter said...

Speaking of The Bopper, owing to unusual circumstances, his original casket was very recently made available for auction.

reader_iam said...

Meade: Pretty much.

Mark said...

Here's a clip of Sonny Curtis, who played with Buddy when he was just starting out, playing a song he wrote about Buddy. Pretty good!

Sonny wrote the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore show too, as well as "I Fought the Law".

David said...

Hellllllooo baaaaaybeeeee!

I'm with Michael H.

Long live the sacred memory of the Big Bopper.

David said...

Pogo: When I was in high school, I listened to every recording Buddy Holly made, over and over again.

And they all sounded exactly alike.

chickenlittle said...

John Milner character: I don't like that surfin' sh**

Sorry John, but Dick Dale shreds.
I love the '55-'59 period too, but that little tiny window of 1960-63 was instrumental for what came afterwards. But today belongs to Holly, Valens, and the Big Bopper, R.I.P.

cokaygne said...

Chickenlittle, I graduated HS in '59 and loved Buddy and the Bopper, but agree about surfin' music. Later in life I tried to impress (younger) girls by being a Beatles fan, but it was a pose. My heart belonged to Dick Dale, Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys, Duane Eddy. White Southerners like Holly, Elvis, et. al (can't forget Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent) reinterpreted Black music for the rest of us and did it well because of familiarity. The Brits and the Surfers were not intimately familiar with Black music in the same way, but they allowed those of us white kids who were not Southerners to think of it as our own.

rhhardin said...

A V-tailed Beech Bonanza, as I remember. A pretty hot airplane.

I wasn't into the style of music, so that's all I took from the incident.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oldsters coming out of the woodwork here.

I was only 8 when the plane went down, so when I became aware musically, they had all been dead for most of a decade. I didn't listen to them until much later, and ultimately turned into a Buddy Holly fan.

rhhardin said...

If it had been Thai Loogthung I might have been interested.

chickenlittle said...

cokaygne said:

The Brits and the Surfers were not intimately familiar with Black music in the same way, but they allowed those of us white kids who were not Southerners to think of it as our own.

Yes that too. Plus I grew up in the Midwest wanting to go to California. You might take a listen to some recent instrumental surf: Bands like Slacktone and especially the Aqua Velvets.