February 3 – Anniversary of the Day the Music Died

Posted on February 3, 2015

There is a song called “American Pie,” in which songwriter Don McLean talks about February making him shiver, bad news on the doorstep, and the day the music died.

That day was February 3, 1959, and it was the day that a small plane crashed killing three rock-n-roll musicians and the plane's pilot.

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were on a tour called “Winter Dance Party” tour. The musicians were traveling from venue (place where they performed) to venue on tour buses. But there was bad weather, and people had the flu, and the tour buses were soon not very nice places to be. Especially when the bus's heating system broke down! So Holly decided to charter a small plane to fly to the next city instead of getting on the bus AGAIN.

You know what else is affected by bad weather and the flu? Air travel. Although statistically speaking air travel is safer than driving in cars, small planes are more dangerous than large commercial aircraft. And experts think that the poor weather conditions caused pilot Roger Peterson to become disoriented and lose control of the plane.

The crash site is a shrine where
fans leave a constant stream of
flowers, wreaths, and memorabilia.

This is a solemn anniversary, but we can use it to remember and celebrate the music made by the three before they died:

Buddy Holly:

Ritchie Valens:

Big Bopper:

Here is a brief bio of all three, and here is McLean's “American Pie.” 

Also on this date:

Paleontologist Gideon Mantell's birthday

Plan ahead:

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