Buddy Holly: What if he had not been lost on 'the day the music died' 61 years ago today? – Steve Cardownie

According to the words of the 1971 Don McLean ballad American Pie, this day in 1959 was the “day the music died”.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 12:30 pm
Buddy Holly (1936-1959), right, with his group The Crickets, Jerry Allison and Joe Mauldin (Pciture: Keystone/Getty Images)
Buddy Holly (1936-1959), right, with his group The Crickets, Jerry Allison and Joe Mauldin (Pciture: Keystone/Getty Images)

At the age of just 22, Buddy Holly, who wrote and performed such classics as That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Everyday, and It’s So Easy, perished in a light airplane crash along with Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and the pilot, Roger Petersen.

In the midst of a snowstorm, Holly chartered a plane to fly him to his next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota rather than stay on the tour bus for a journey that was certain to be arduous and potentially dangerous.

Ironically, soon after take-off the plane crashed with no survivors, leaving music lovers to mourn the loss of one of the most influential musicians of all time.

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Names such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Hollies, Elvis Costello and Elton John, have all paid tribute to the influence that Holly had on their musical direction.

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him in its first class of 1986, remarking on the large quantity of material he produced in his all-too-short career and stating that it “made a major and lasting impact on popular music”.

He was also inducted into The Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 which said that his contributions “changed the face of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

For someone to die so young, yet having such an impact, begs the question of what might have been were he not so cruelly taken.

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