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The Day the Music Died


Reading + Entertainment

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Meredith, Queen's Square | February 1, 2017

Maybe you know the story, or maybe you’ve never heard anything about it. On February 3rd, 1959, three young musicians boarded a plane on a cold, snowy night in Iowa. They were headed for the next stop on a music tour. They didn’t make it. Shortly after departure, the small plane crashed, and in addition to the plane’s pilot, all three musicians died.

Those musicians were Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper. And since the tragic event, February 3rd has been dubbed “The Day the Music Died”. If the phrase sounds familiar, that’s because it came from Don McLean’s classic song American Pie. The song references the event, which happened when McLean was thirteen.

So what does a sad story in 1959 have to do with today? “The Day the Music Died” marked the loss of three performers who were poised to change the face of Rock n’ Roll. The Big Bopper was a 28-year-old musician and DJ who reportedly coined the term “music video” and created some of the earliest rock videos. Buddy Holly, already influential to future members of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles (among others) was just 22. And Ritchie Valens, a pioneer of Chicano Rock, was only 17.

You don’t have to be old to be a legend. Even as teens and young adults, these musicians proved their worth to fans and music business professionals around the world. If you aren’t familiar with the musicians, you can read about the tragedy, or check out this biography about the most famous of the three, Buddy Holly. And, of course, it’s an absolute must to listen to their music.

Take some time this February to celebrate the history of rock, and maybe even make your mark on its future. Whether you’re striking your own chords, or you just like checking out all of music’s new releases, there are plenty of ways for you to Rave On.

YA Music Reads:

Bonus Book! – Reference to 2/3/59: