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The Day the Music Died

Published: 2/3/2014

The Day the Music Died

Fifty-five years ago today, a small plane crash in an icy Iowa field became one of the defining moments of rock 'n' roll history. Riding in that plane were rockers Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens, and their deaths resonated across the musical landscape for years to come. "The Day the Music Died" robbed us of three great talents and left us wondering what might have been, had they lived. Today, we can look back through generations of rock musicians and see how strongly they were influenced by Holly and his cohorts.

As we observe the anniversary of this great loss, we're reading about Holly, Richardson and Valens as well as looking back into the past with videos of some of their live performances.

The day the music died

On this day in 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with "That'll Be the Day."


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