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Tears for the Loss of Three Musical Talents

Updated on October 14, 2015

Many of you will remember what has become known as “the day the music died”. It is a most shocking thing that on February 2, 1959 three very talented rock and roll singers who were part of the Winter Dance Party Tour took off in a small plane to the to the next tour stop and never made it there alive. The plane with J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens crashed into a cornfield and no one survived. It made me think how cruel fate was to take such three young talents from this world however they did leave behind their music and this has made them immortal. Singer Don McLean memorialized this tragedy in his song “American Pie”.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was an American singer and songwriter who was born in Lubbock, Texas as Charles Hardin Holley on September 7, 1936. He had already become a musical talent by the time he was 16 years old. The nickname “Buddy” was given to him by his mother. Early on he also learned to play the piano and fiddle. His first recording was in 1949 and was a home recording titled “My Two-Timin’ Woman”. Holly had problems breaking into the rock and roll scene which was not really accepted at such an early time. After high school he formed a band and played country and western songs on a Lubbock radio station. He became inspired by Elvis and soon started playing rock and roll music and was signed on to a recording contract. Holly and his band became known as Buddy Holly and The Crickets. Their breakthrough hit “That’ll Be the Day” was released in 1957 and topped the U.S. charts 500 days before the singer’s untimely death.

Albums and Popular Songs

Holly’s first record album came out in 1958 and was titled Buddy Holly. It featured such songs as “I’m Gonna Love You Too”, “Peggy Sue” and “Word of Love”.

His second album was “That’ll Be the Day” with the title song becoming a big hit. Other songs on the album included “You Are my Desire”, “Blue Days, Black Nights” and “Love Me”.

Some of his other popular songs include “Rave On”, “Heartbeat” and “Raining in My Heart”.

Then it was all over and the music came to a stand-still when Buddy Holly died at the age of 22. Buddy Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He left behind his pregnant wife Maria Elena Santiago, who afterwards miscarried. She owns the rights to Buddy Holly's name, image, trademarks and other intellectual property.

Ritchie Valens

A Mexican-American singer and songwriter Ritchie Valens has an influence on the Chicano rock movement. During his short career he recorded various hits his most popular being “La Bamba”. He was born in Pacoima, California as Richard Steven Valenzuela on May 13, 1941. Valens made history as the first Latino star. Growing up he has a great love of music and learned to play different instruments. His inspiration came from sources such as traditional Mexican music, popular R&B acts and innovative performers like Little Richard. He joined his first band at 16 playing with The Silhouettes. His career breakthrough came when Bob Keane, the head of Del-Fi records heard him play.

First Album and Popular Songs

Valens’ first album titled Ritchie Valens was released post-humously in 1959. It included his most popular hit “La Bamba” and songs like “Donna”, “Come On, Let’s Go” and “Bluebirds Over the Mountain”.

At the time of his death Ritchie Valens was 17 years old. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

J.P. Richardson

J.P. Richardson was known in the world of rock as “The Big Bopper” and his biggest rock hit was “Chantilly Lace” in 1958. He was born Jiles Perry Richardson Jr. in Sabine Pass, Texas on October 24, 1930. At the Lamar State College of Technology he started working as a DJ for a radio station. He was a most talented singer and songwriter. He came out with the album Chantilly Lace.

Among his other recorded songs are “Walking Through My Dream”, “Someone Watching Over You” and “Little Red Riding Hood”.

The Big Bopper was 28 years old at the time of his death. He left behind a pregnant wife and daughter. His son Jay Perry was born months after he passed on. His son also had a musical career but died in his 50s of heart problems.


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    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Glad you enjoyed this Ann. Yes, Buddy Holly truly had music that could get you dancing and even singing.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I loved all of these but especially Buddy Holly; his music is so danceable (if there is such a word!) and never fails to get your feet tapping. He had such a good look too.

      'American Pie' is one of my all-time favourites too.

      Thanks for the reminder and for all the info - great!


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Glad you enjoy these Shauna. There is a wide world of music out there.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Rasma, it's so sad these these talented men lost their lives at such young ages. I didn't know Richie Valens was only 17. Such a shame.

      I love these musical highlight hubs, Rasma. Keep them coming!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Among the three of them I think after death Buddy Holly became the most popular Manatita.

      You welcome Ruby. Yes, that was a double tragedy that Holly never had a child.

      It was the saddest thing that fate had them die at such a very young age Jodah. I'll take a look at your hub.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good hub Rasma. I wrote a hub a little while ago called "Raining in My Heart" a tribute to Buddy Holly and the plane crash, but it didn't include a lot of info on Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, so this was helpful extra information.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I just watched the Buddy Holly movie last night on TV he was ahead of his time and was great. I didn't know his wife miscarried, how sad. Thanks for sharing all three stories.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      I knew of them well. Did not realise they died so young, especially Richie Valens. A tragic loss! I think that Buddy Holly is still famous in America.

      Nice Hub.