Holly, Richardson & Valens (original source unknown).
On February 3, 1959 the world lost three rising stars in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa: Charles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy Holly, who was 22, Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson Jr., known as The Big Bopper, who was 28 & Richard Steven Valenzuela, known as Ritchie Valens, who was 17. Don McLean referred to this tremendous loss as “the day the music died” in his 1971 iconic anthem, “American Pie”, because in many ways, music and the world were never quite the same after this tragedy. The date signifies a loss of innocence and in its place a cruel lesson about good people dying young and without warning, despite how bright their future looked.
In addition to their musical legacies, the singers left behind family. For Holly it was his parents, three older siblings, a niece named Cindy Lou (whom he started to write a song for which eventually became “Peggy Sue”) and his wife, Maria Elena Santiago Holly. She is still alive and owns the rights to all of Holly’s music and intellectual property. She was pregnant when he died but suffered a miscarriage following news of the crash. She co-founded the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation in 2010 with Peter Bradley.
Buddy Holly circa 1950’s (original source unknown).
For Richardson it was his wife, five year old daughter and son who was born two months after the crash. All three have passed away.
The Big Bopper circa 1950’s (original source unknown).
Valens was survived by his mother, four siblings, a sister in law, nephew and high school girlfriend Donna Ludwig, whom he paid tribute to in his song of the same name. It became a Billboard Top 100 number two hit after Valens’ death.
Ritchie Valens circa 1957 (original source unknown).
Today I am sharing some songs to honor these men and today’s somber anniversary.
For the Big Bopper: “Chantilly Lace” (1958) as performed on “American Bandstand”.
For Ritchie Valens: His most well known song & my favorite “La Bamba” (1958) and a great clip of him performing “Ooh My Head” (1958) from the movie, “Go, Johnny, Go”, which was released four months after the crash.
And, of course, Don McLean’s “American Pie” (1971).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing some things that I love with you 🙂
Until next time, happy listening!!!