February 3, 1959, was a tragic day for rock and roll music. Four lives were lost on that cold winter night near Clear Lake, Iowa: the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Roger Peterson, the pilot that was supposed to take them to Fargo. Later, this day became known as “The Day the Music Died,” after the lyrics in Don McLean’s 1971 song “American Pie.” So how did the accident happened?
It all started with Buddy Holly leaving his band the Crickets in November 1958, to go to New York and be more active in the publishing and recording businesses. Soon after this, Holly planned his “Winter Dance Party” tour; a winter tour through the northern Midwest. For this purpose, he made a band together with Waylon Jennings (bass), Tommy Allsup (guitar), and Carl Bunch (drums), with the supporting vocals of Frankie Sardo. Few other musicians joined the tour as support artists, among them Ritchie Valens (La Bamba), J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (Chantilly Lace) and Dion DiMucci and his band The Belmonts.