Buddy Holly And The Crash: Why The Day The Music Died Still Haunts Us

By Rebeka Knott
Buddy Holly poses for a portrait circa 1958 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959, rock and roll seemed to come to a standstill. Four lives were lost on that cold winter night near Clear Lake, Iowa: Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, and Roger Peterson, the pilot who was hired to take them to Fargo. Holly was a 22-year-old rock innovator who'd scored a #1 hit two years earlier and had placed numerous other songs in the top 40. A decade later, singer Don McLean would aptly christen the date "the day the music died" in his biggest hit, "American Pie."