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On This Day In Photos: February 3 1959 – Buddy Holly Dies On The Winter Dance Party Tour

By on 3 February 2014 | comments 0
Buddy Holly shown in 1956, 22

Buddy Holly shown in 1956, 22

ON This Day – February 3 1959: Charles Hardin Holley – aka Buddy Holly –  22,  Jiles P Richardson – aka the Big Bopper – 28, and Richard Valenzuela  – aka Ritchie Valens – 17, were killed when their single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza planed crashed shortly take-off from Clear Lake, Iowa.

Pilot Roger Peterson, 21, also lost his life.

 

winter dance party

 

The triumvirate’s last show has been at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, where their memory lives on:

 

surf ballroom

 

surf_phone

 

Holly had only recent gone solo, breaking up with the Crickets.

On February 1 1959, the stars played Green Bay, WI, Ballroom.

 

At The Green Bay, WI, Ballroom - February 1, 1959

At The Green Bay, WI, Ballroom – February 1, 1959

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 11.28.32

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 11.28.23

 

 

They had been a sensation. Buddy Holly and the Crickets made an appearance on the Arthur Murray Dance Party on December 29, 1957. It was unusual to see a band like the Crickets performing on the show.

“Now, if you haven’t heard of these young men, then you must be the wrong age because they’re rock and roll specialists. Now, no matter what you think about rock and roll, I think you have to keep a nice open mind about what the young people go for. Otherwise the youngsters won’t feel that you understand them. Now, if we’re ready for our rock and roll specialists, we have…Buddy Holly and the Crickets!”

 

Holly only hired the plane because of heating problems developed on his tour bus. They were headed to Moorhead, Minnesota, the next venue in their Winter Dance Party Tour.

Here’s rare footage of Holly and Elvis Presley:

This colour clip was shot silent in 1955 in Oklahoma City while Holly and Elvis Presley were working the two bottom slots on a country package tour headlined by Hank Snow — and apparently represents not only the earliest film footage of Holly but that of Elvis as well (he’s dressed in a neon-bright green shirt and he’s already a physically commanding figure).

 

 

About 35 seconds into his video, you can see Valens rocking the coffee shop:

 

 

It was as Don McLean told us in his 1972 song American Pie, the day the music died.

 

A poster showing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

A poster showing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

 

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Flowers adorn a memorial, Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, at the spot where the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed killing all aboard, Feb. 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa.

Flowers adorn a memorial, Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, at the spot where the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed killing all aboard, Feb. 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa.

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The Big Bopper was ahed of his time:

Actor Gary Busey is accompanied by Buddy Holly's widow, Marie Elena Holly, at the gala premiere of The Buddy Holly musical.

Actor Gary Busey is accompanied by Buddy Holly’s widow, Marie Elena Holly, at the gala premiere of film.

Buddy Holly's backing group The Crickets in London. L-R: Glen Dee Hardin; Buzz Cason; Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis (Buzz has taken the place of Jerry Naylor due to illness for their British visit). Date: 22/06/1964

Buddy Holly’s backing group The Crickets in London. L-R: Glen Dee Hardin; Buzz Cason; Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis (Buzz has taken the place of Jerry Naylor due to illness for their British visit).
Date: 22/06/1964

The "Big Bopper"

The “Big Bopper”

Rock singer Ritchie Valens

Rock singer Ritchie Valens

American rock and roll singer Buddy Holly, on stage at the Ritz Theatre, Wigan.

American rock and roll singer Buddy Holly, on stage at the Ritz Theatre, Wigan.

Grief - stricken Mrs. Alice Cochran is comforted by relatives as she weeps over the casket of her son, Rock and Roll singer Eddie Cochran, at his funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on April 25, 1960. Cochran was killed in an auto crash in England on April 17. Standing behind the group at the casket is Mrs. Concepcion Valens, whose son, singer Richie Valens, died in a crash last year. (AP Photo)

Grief – stricken Mrs. Alice Cochran is comforted by relatives as she weeps over the casket of her son, Rock and Roll singer Eddie Cochran, at his funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on April 25, 1960. Cochran was killed in an auto crash in England on April 17. Standing behind the group at the casket is Mrs. Concepcion Valens, whose son, singer Richie Valens, died in a crash last year. (AP Photo)