The Day The Music Died

by K-Berens

In 1988, Ken Paquette, a Wisconsin fan of the 1950s era, erected a stainless steel monument depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records bearing the names of each of the three performers at the crash site.

Many people may think of the song American Pie by Don Maclean when they think about the day the music died, but not many may know the real tale behind the song. The date is February 3rd 1959, and three musical greats were on a plane ride from Iowa to North Dakota. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson. Fate had put them on a plane together.

Buddy Holly was on tour with his band that included Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup and Carl Bunch. They were travelling with Ritchie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and together were promoting a “Winter Dance Party” tour. Their tour bus was freezing cold, the heater had stopped working.

Holly decided to charter a plane instead of continuing in the bus. There were only four seats on the plane. Holly took one. Bunch was hospitalized with frostbite. The “Big Bopper” was suffering from the flu so Jennings gave up his seat on the plane and Allsup and Valens flipped a coin for the remaining seat. Valens won the toss but Allsup got to live the rest of his life.

The pilot, 21 year old Roger Peterson, prepared to take off before the blizzard, unaware of its existence. The plane took off after being cleared for flight, it only remained in the air for a very short time before Peterson lost his bearings and crashed the plane into the ground. The day was forever immortalized as The Day The Music Died.

In 1988, a fan named Ken Paquette constructed a steel monument at the site of the crash. The monument shows a steel guitar and three records with the names of the three musicians who died. The three musicians have left a legacy that continues to inspire musicians five decades after their deaths. Buddy Holly also became one of the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the year 1986.

Read more:

The Day the Music Died, the Crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper

The Day the Music Died | TIME

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