The True Buddy Holly Story

The true Buddy Holly story of the Plane Crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.

The true Buddy Holly story

Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression, and learned to play guitar and sing alongside his siblings. His style was influenced by gospel music, country music, and rhythm and blues acts, which he performed in Lubbock with his friends from high school.

He made his first appearance on local television in 1952, and the following year he formed the group “Buddy and Bob” with his friend Bob Montgomery. In 1955, after opening for Elvis Presley, he decided to pursue a career in music. He opened for Presley three times that year; his band’s style shifted from country and western to entirely rock and roll. In October that year, when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets, he was spotted by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall, who helped him get a contract with Decca Records.

The winter dance party

The true Buddy Holly story of the winter dance party

The Winter Dance Party tour began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 23, 1959. The amount of travel involved created logistical problems, as the distance between venues had not been considered when scheduling performances. Adding to the problem, the unheated tour buses twice broke down in freezing weather, with dire consequences. Holly’s drummer Carl Bunch was hospitalized for frostbite to his toes so Holly decided to seek other transportation. 

On February 2 Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane for Jennings, Allsup, and himself, from Dwyer Flying Service. The plan was to depart after the show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and fly to their next venue, in Minnesota.

Immediately after the Clear Lake show, Allsup agreed to flip a coin for the seat with Valens. Valens called heads; when he won, he reportedly said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever won anything in my life,”. Allsup later opened a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas called Heads Up. Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson (the Big Bopper). Richardson had influenza and complained that the tour bus was too cold and uncomfortable for a man of his size.

The pilot, Roger Peterson, took off in inclement weather, although he was not certified to fly by instruments only. Shortly after 12:55 am on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens, Richardson, and Peterson were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed five miles northwest of Mason City, Iowa, airport shortly after takeoff. The three musicians, who were ejected from the fuselage upon impact, suffered severe head and chest injuries.

More info here on the Wikipedia page.

The true Buddy Holly story is told by Dion .

You can hear music from Buddy Holly on radio stations listed here on the “Oldies Page