The Day the Music Died

3 Feb


A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

Don McLean, American Pie

Fifty years ago today, 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash after leaving a performance in Clear Lake Iowa.

Rock fans head to Iowa to recall day music died

The crash set off a wave of mourning among their passionate, mostly young fans across the country. Then 12 years later the crash was immortalized as “the day the music died” in McLean’s 1971 song, “American Pie.”

50 Winters Have Passed Since the Day the Music Died

“Fifty Winters Later” is the name of a memorial event in Clear Lake, Iowa where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash February 3, 1959. Just 11 months prior, Holly and the Crickets made an international impact.

What if the music hadn’t died with Buddy Holly?
Houston Chronicle

Part of the lasting appeal of Buddy Holly and the Winter Dance Party — the infamous tour of the Midwest that ended tragically with a Feb. 3, 1959, plane crash — is the allure of youthful promise cut short. We, of course, will never know what might have happened had Buddy, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper elected to stay on the bus on that frigid February night 50 winters ago.

I’m a little disturbed that an historical event that happened 50 years ago…happened in my lifetime. Of course I wasn’t even a year old when these men died in that crash. But I was just about to become a teenager when McLean released “American Pie.” I don’t know that we ever really figured out what it meant, but we all talked about it. As for his work, McLean said:

“So when people ask me what American Pie means, I tell them it means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.”


One Response to “The Day the Music Died”

  1. Tom Sanchez Prunier February 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    If the music didn’t die on this day, it certainly did during last night’s Grammys.

    Thank God there’s the Internet, where you can filter out the hacks the record companies push on you. Did you read that Jessica (not Ashleeeeeee) Simpson forgot the words to some songs and had to ask the band to start over while opening for Rascal Flats? I feel bad for Flats fans who had to sit through her 38-minute fiasco of a set.

    I miss you, Bopper, Buddy and Ritchie.

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