Wednesday, February 03, 2010

51 Years Ago

On Feb. 3, 1959 a plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa carrying three stars of rock n' roll (from left): JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Ritchie Valensand Buddy Holly.

They finished playing a show at the Surf Ballroom and were headed for the next stop on the Winter Dance Party tour. After a miserable experience with a tour bus the day before, Holly chartered a plane, but the plane crashed about five miles from the airport due to poor weather conditions and pilot error.

In a weird bit of fate, Valens and Richardson weren't supposed to be on the plane. It was supposed to be for Holly's band members, but bandmate Tommy Allsup and Valens flipped a coin for who would get to one seat and bandmate (and now-famous country singer) Waylon Jennings gave up his seat for the flu-stricken Richardson.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Ed Ward, NPR's goofiest rock "historian" (he picked up this tag permanently for me about 15 years ago, at the height till that time of DIY rock recording and distribution, for calmly intoning in his slot on FRESH AIR that DIY, of course, was dead)(basically, it was his office George Harrison was in in A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, only he has even less excuse), yesterday or perhaps the day before was going on about Big Star being "the unluckiest band in rock history"...leaving aside all the other bands that have never made even cult status and had all kinds of Really Bad Things happen to them, much less the nastiness visited upon popular bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, to make that bootless claim about Big Star that close to the anniversary of the Crickets tragedy, and that of the other men, is further indication of what a chump he is.

Thanks for the reminder.

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