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

By | April 3, 2018

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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."

Buddy Holly Had Struck Out On His Own In The Weeks Before The Crash

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It all started when Buddy Holly left his band the, Crickets, in November 1958. He departed in order to go to New York and become more active in the music industry; more specifically, publishing and recording. Soon after, Buddy Holly planned his “Winter Dance Party” tour. The winter tour was to take place throughout the northern Midwest.