On This Day in ’59, the Music Died

By Jessica Wheeler, AliveTampaBay Columnist

On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were killed when their chartered plane crashed shortly after taking off from Clear Lake, Iowa. The artists were participating in a midwest tour called the Winter Dance Party. Holly was 22 years old, J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) was 28 years old, and Valens was 17. The plane crash cut short the rising careers of Richardson and Valens, who were relative newcomers, and ended the already-legendary string of hits by Buddy Holly. The day has since become known as “The Day the Music Died,” and inspired Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

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