Topic Author
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The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 1:37 am

February XX, 1959:
A plane crashes containing three famous US rock stars. (Was it Bob Marley, the guy who wrote "La Bamba" and third famous guy?)

Apparently, this day became known as "The day the music died", and this name is one of the most memorable lines of the song "American Pie".

While browsing on the web, I found a few pages trying to interpret the text of this wonderful song, and I, who always thought the text was meant to be poetic gibberish, am quite impressed with the meaning of each and every verse. But this particular fact rang in my ears: 3 rock stars dying in 1 crash. So I decided to ask the knowledgeable forum members for more information:

What plane was involved?
Was it an airliner or a private jet? (I assume corporate jets were rare in those times?)
How comes there were 3 famous people on board (if it was an airliner) - were tickets so expensive that every crash would cost only VIP's lives?
What was the cause? Just bad weather?

And, as I do not know much about that time and the music then, why does Don McLean consider this event so momentous in music history? Did their death change the style of that era's music this drastically? Or is it just the nostalgic, but eventually meaningless description of a very personal, subjective view of things?

Thanks for any replies!



Matt D
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 2:02 am

Actually, the three musicians involved were Ritchie Valens ("La Bamba", "Donna"), Buddy Holly ("Peggy Sue"), and "The Big Bopper" (sorry, don't know any of his songs).

I believe the plane involved was a Beechcraft Bonanza, but I am not certain of that, but it was a small prop plane.

To answer your other questions, I do not know.
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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 2:20 am

Matt D, The big bopper sung "Chantilly Lace (and a pretty face)"
My views as expressed above are my views alone and do not constitute the views of my employer.

RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 2:44 am

I think the song American Pie was basically about the history of rock and roll.

Let see...

So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candle stick
'Cause fire is the devil's only friend.

As I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan's spell

This verse must be about the Rolling Stones and their concert at Altamont in '69.

Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with the fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast

This is about the Byrds and their controversial song "Eight Miles High"

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away

Janice Joplin perhaps.

Just my thoughts.  Big grin

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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 4:46 am

The plane went down in a snow-storm. They were flying to another gig. I think they booked the plane because the tour bus broke down.
"Shaddap you!"
Mr Spaceman
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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 5:19 am

Hi guys. Matt D is correct. The aircraft was a Beechcraft Bonanza [I read a synopsis of the "Crash Report" around 7 years ago in FLYING magazine].

I believe there was another musician who was supposed to be on that flight, however he was either to late, or there wasn't enough room, but I can't remember his name. It was someone like Hank Williams Sr....I think.

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 9:47 am

That third member was Waylon Jennings. He flipped a coin with Richie Valens & lost his seat. It was indeed "The day the music died." Feb. 3rd, 1959.
Big Bopper's real name was J.P. Richardson. I have his only album on CD. Regards.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 10:00 am

I sometimes wondered what would have happened had Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the "Big Bopper" had not been killed in that plane crash.

I think very likely rock and roll would have remained quite popular, and very likely Elvis Presley would have to evolve his musical style quickly in order to keep up with these three legendary musicians. It probably would have also delayed the British Invasion by at least 2-3 years, too.
Topic Author
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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 6:31 pm

Thanks guys!

Very interesting replies!

So their death did have an impact on 20th century music development? Quite sad really. Nowadays no one would really notice if any of today's "pop stars" died - as they are so replaceable and all their songs are written by others anyway....

Must have been quite a time, when the style of music actually developped and changed radically over a few years at the hands of just a few people.


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RE: The Day The Music Died...

Wed Jun 13, 2001 8:02 pm

Confirm, it was an early Bonanza.

To the best of my knowledge the cause was CFIT by a non-instrument rated pilot.


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