TODAY, February 3, has become known as ‘The Day the Music Died,’ following the reference to the tragic deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J P Richardson, aka The Big Bopper, in Don McLean’s 1971 song ‘American Pie’.
This year marks the 62nd anniversary of their deaths along with the pilot of the plane in which they were travelling, Roger Peterson.
Holly, Valens and Richardson took off from the airport in Mason City, Iowa, in a plane that Holly had chartered, despite the bad weather.
They had performed at a Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 2, 1959 and their plane crashed just minutes after takeoff. They were heading to Moorhead, Minnesota.
A memorial is located at the crash site and concerts are held every year to commemorate the anniversary. This year, the Surf Ballroom announced that the concert would be virtual and it will be held on Saturday, February 6, with the performance of the Holy Rocka Rollaz.
The Surf Ballroom, the site of their last concert, has now been officially declared a historic place by the US Secretary of the Interior, being added to the National Historic Landmark list just last month.
“The Surf Ballroom is a national treasure. You can almost feel the energy and hear the echoes of all the concerts over the years,” Chris Kramer, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, said in statement. “The soundtrack of the 20th century played live, right here in Clear Lake, Iowa.”
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