“The Day The Music Died” – A four-word phrase but with a tragic story. Referencing Don McLean’s song “American Pie,” this commemorates the unfortunate plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. It was an event in American history that forever altered the contours of rock and roll music.
The Day that Changed the Music World
On February 3, 1959, the small Beechcraft Bonanza carrying the musicians crashed in a farmer’s field in Clear Lake, Iowa. Buddy Holly and the others had been on a taxing road tour. This gave Holly the flu while some of his bandmates had frostbites from the freezing cold bus rides.
Having had enough, Holly then chartered the small plane, which was ill-equipped for that night’s wintry weather. Moments after takeoff, the pilot suddenly lost control of the plane. Within seconds, it smashed into the ground, killing all four people aboard.
The singers’ remains were then buried in their respective home states. But, the crash site, no matter how remote it is, has evaded obscurity. It then became a well-known spot to what we call now as “The Day The Music Died.”
In 1988, 29 years after the tragic incident, a guitar-shaped memorial was put up where the plane went down. The place was still a private cornfield. Hence, later on, another permanent monument was built just off the highway. This time, it was a bit simpler. It’s a giant pair of Buddy Holly’s iconic glasses, sitting on pillars.
Now, 60 years later, people go back to the place and pay respect to the memorials. They leave little tokens to their dearly departed musical idols. The giant glasses can be found on the roadside, but the actual crash site is set back from the road.
It has been exactly 60 years since “the day the music died,” but we remember the four souls that were taken and their legacy will forever be reckoned.
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