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Flashback: ‘The Day The Music Died’ – Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, & The Big Bopper Remembered

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It was 57 years ago today (February 3rd, 1959) that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash after a performance in Clear Lake, Iowa. The three had been performing along with Dion & The Belmonts as part of the Winter Dance Party Tour, which would cover 24 cities in a short three-week period from January 23rd to February 15th. Holly, who had parted ways with longtime backing group the Crickets the previous year, was backed up by a then-unknown Waylon Jennings on bass and Tommy Allsup on lead guitar.

Dion DiMucci says that although the shows were always hot, his favorite moments from the tour were jamming on the near freezing bus on the way to the next town: “Well, we used to play in the back of the bus — Ritchie Valens, myself and Buddy Holly. The Big Bopper didn’t join in, he sat in the front with his beer. But we would rock in the back of the bus. You talk about tapes — I wish there was a tape going on.”

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