February 3, 1959

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By: Wayne Brown

It was a frigid cold February 2, in the now famous year of 1959

A rock n roll show in Clear Lake,Iowa, across the northern line

The Surf Ballroom was filled within as folks paid the ticket toll

For the Winter Dance Party to hear these stars of rock n’ roll


Dionne & the Belmonts did “Little Darlin” for the packed house crowd

J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper”, did “Chantilly Lace good ‘n loud

Then there was “Oh Donna” sung by Ritchie Valens upon that stage

He was just a youngster but his hit song made him the current rage


Then Buddy Holly came out along with his famous Cricket band

But in the place of the original Crickets, other musicians would stand

There was Tommy Alsup on guitar, Waylon Jennings on the bass

Carl Bunch was on the drums and kept the tunes on pace


“Peggy Sue”, “That’ll be The Day,” and the hard-rocking “Oh Boy”

Holly and the Crickets rocked the crowd; filled their hearts with joy

The show was a glorious success as the ones before it had been

But for the stars, it was on the bus, to another stop to do it all again


The bus was cold and had no heat; the stars were cold from head to feet

Tired of that old cold bus, Holly chartered a plane with two extra seats

Several wanted to go but Holly gave the seats to Allsup and Waylon

But when the plane took off that night on it was Richardson and Valens


After midnight, the plane flew off into an icy, winter’s dark night

The pilot had little experience and was not qualified for the flight

Trouble came quickly and the plane crashed into a farmer’s field

Tumbling over, rolling, ripping, tearing, a twisted mass of steel


All on board perished in that gruesome, deadly frozen field crash

Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens all gone in a flash

The biggest stars of the day in which we took so much pride

No wonder February 3rd is called “The Day the Music Died”

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


© 2011 Wayne Brown

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Comments 33 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We heard the announcement on the school bus radio the next morning. I remember several of the girls bursting into tears.

One Buddy Holly song hit that was released after his death was eerily titled: "I guess it doesn't matter anymore.


Rhonda Waits profile image

Rhonda Waits 5 years ago from The Emerald Coast

I wasn't born back then. I got to know who Buddy Holly was later years growing up. I recently watched his movie on T.V with actor Gary Busey. He played Holly. It was a sad movie.I truly enjoyed it,until he died,he never got his reunion with the crickets. Well maybe he did later in life,when they passed away. Anyway great hub. Just great.

Sweet wishes Rhonda


partisan patriot 5 years ago

So Bye Bye Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the Levy

But the levy was dry

And good old boys are drinking whiskey and rye

Saying this will be the day that I die!


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

Great hub and I remember the day this happened very well. You sure have a great way of shaking the dust off my memory.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...I was twelve at the time but I really do not have any memory of the tragedy. WB

@Rhonda Waits...You may not remember it but it sure is hard to get through life without knowing Buddy Holly. WB

@partisan patriot...Another great memory of that sad day in song...WB

@Old Poolman...Thank you...glad that I can do that for you! WB


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

Wayne thank you for posting this - so many talented musicians died so young but left us with so much. This brought a few of them and their songs to mind... at least we still have the music and hence their memories.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

I was just shy of 10 years old, then, and not even involved in or aware of the "music of the day." I grew up listening to the music of my parent's era: Big Bands, Mitch Miller and the Gang, etc.

I learned of this much later in my life, after I was married, actually. I was a pretty over-protected, sheltered, out-of-touch kid.

Wasn't it Richie Valens who wrote/performed "La Bamba"? I believe it was his first hit, and he was "on the way up." So sad, so sad.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Terrific hub. What a horrible tragedy that lives on in the hearts of so many who loved the music!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I had no followed rock and roll music so I was not aware of this accident until years later.When I was working as a Policy writer I got to know several people who were into that music. Needless to say they were younger than me. Oh yesI did know a couple of people who went to the annual event at clear Lake for a'50's dance. I was familiar with Clear Lake because I once worked near there and my mother told me that when they lived in Des Moines, Iowa they sometimes went to Clear Lake.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@CheyenneAutumn...Yes, charter airplanes have taken much talent in crashes...an unbelievable amount...Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Otis Redding, Rick Nelson, Lynrd Skynrd, Jim Croce, Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copus, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Reba McEntire band...just to name a few. WB

@dahoglund...I was like you, I didn't become aware until later. Patsy Cline is the first memory of a star dying in an airplane that I have. For auto accidents, it was Johnny Horton. Thanks DA. WB

@breakfastpop...Yes, you wonder how things might have been if Holly and the others had live...in what way would they have affected music as opposed to how they have in death. WB

@DML...You are correct...Ritchie is the one whose signature song is "La Bamba". His real name was Ritchie Valenzela...shortened for the stage...17 years old. Sad day. WB


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

This was great Wayne. 6 years before I was born, but I've read about it since I was a small boy. Buddy Holly and Valens, in particular, were really great artists. Never been much of a Chantilly Lace fan, but very sad nonetheless. Thanks for a great read.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Stan Fletcher...Thanks much, Stan. They certainly left their mark on the music in just the short time they were here. It is good that we still remember...WB


michael ely profile image

michael ely 5 years ago from Scotland

Hi Wayne, A great Hub and tribute to some great musicians. Thanks. Michael.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@michael ely...We can only wonder how much more impact they might have had given a full life to influence the rock music genre. So much talent in the music industry has been lost to aviation crashes...just those people alone would make for one beautiful concert. WB


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Great hub and tribute to these music greats. Although this happened before my time, I know that this tour was fraught with logistical problems and scheduling mishaps almost from the start…only to end so tragically in that frozen field. The pilot didn’t even have his instrument rating. Very sad day indeed.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Ooops...almost forgot...a vote up for this one.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Genna East...Yes, it sounds like a lot of people were cutting corners in the transportation side of this business. Unfortunately, that is a fatal risk in the charter aircraft business that sooner or later catches up as evidenced by the loss of so many famed personalities in crashes. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Another great write Wayne about the trio that went down on that cold snowy day in the fields. We lost great talent, fortunately they left a legacy of great tunes for us to remember them by.

The movies made were especially riveting about their young lives and starting out in the entertainment business. We sure missed them and thankful that we were left with great songs that still live on.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...I find myself wondering how things would have been different in the music industry had some of those we have lost survived and continued their careers...would it, could it have been any better that it is? Only God knows...Thanks Ken! WB


samiaali profile image

samiaali 5 years ago

Hi WB, This was beautiful! It was, of course, a very sad event, but your words describe our loss very well. Thank you. :)


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@samiaali...Thank you so much...I was hoping that I could create something that would rise to the level. WB


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

I enjoyed this tribute to some great musos. Thank you.

Love and peace

Tony


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@tonymac04...It was certainly a sad day in the music industry...thanks much Tony! WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Not sure if Ricky Nelson qualifies here . . . and if anyone ever proved the facts surrounding his demise/plane crash. But, another fatality in the entertainment world. Hopefully folks are enjoying the Grammys tonight and appreciating the qualities of our talented singers and songwriters.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...Yes, Rick Nelson would be on that list. It was finally official cited as a malfunctioning cabin heater that brought the aircraft down...a WWII model C-47. WB


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

"La Bamba" was the B Side of "Donna".

In Pittsburgh, we were fortunate to have DJ Porky Chadwick, the "daddy-o of the raddy-o, rockin' and boppin' . . " (there's more to that, but I can't remember it all) on KQV.

My friend and neighbor came running up to the back door, and said, "The Big Bopper and Richie Valens and Buddy Holly were all killed in a plane crash last night."

In a few weeks, there was an album called "The Buddy Holly Story" that came out. I bought that at Stedeford's on East Ohio Street.

If anybody else remembers Stedeford's, let me know.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Huntgoddess...Owwwww! I love it...daddy-o of the raddy-o...that's a cool name. Maybe I'll start calling myself that! Sounds like he could have given the Wolfman a good run! Thanks for the great comments! WB


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

Yes, I think he may have been the Wolfman's mentor. LOL So, are you a DJ?

Glad you liked my comment. Thanks for a great Hub.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Huntgoddess...No I never got to try my hand at the DJ thing although I always wanted to do it and being a bit of a gab and a comic, I thought I had the stuff. I would have been spinning those mounds of sounds and stacks of wax on Saturday night! I grew up listening the KAAY in Little Rock Arkansas, the 50,000 watt blow torch and WLS in Chicago. Dick Dionby was fired just before I started listening for his comment about mini-skirts. I think there was one guy on KAAY that filled the Saturday night slot...Rockin' Rob Robins...what a neat name! WB


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Wayne, great tribute, I was 11 and was listening to that "crap" as my pop called it. Had a suitcase style record player and the 45s, I was tore up from the floor up over that. I can name others years later that had the same effect, I often wonder just what I'd be listening to from them now days.

Ricky Nelson,Jim Croce,John Lennon, Janis Joplin, George Harrison ah the list goes on and many with full careers and age got them, sad thoughts, still voted up ward, Peace dusty


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@50 Caliber...Thanks 50...I had one of those same record players...my introduction to music. I remember doing the "bop" with my older aunt to a Fats Domino song. Airplanes and drugs have taken a lot of talent over the years. It does make you wonder how much better music would be if those folks could have live a while longer. Thanks for the read and the good words. WB


gajanis786 profile image

gajanis786 5 years ago

Another sad narration of a tragic historic chapter.....


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@gajanis786...It was a tragedy that foretold so many like tragedies to follow as charter plane accidents killed so many stars of the music industry. Thanks much. WB

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