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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





February 3, 1959

The Day the Music Died

On this day in 1959, a small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed killing all three musicians and the pilot.

The crash could easily have claimed the lives of Waylon Jennings instead of J.P. Richardson. Richardson had developed the flu and asked Waylon Jennings if he could take his place on the plane, rather than ride the bus.  Jennings agreed and joked "Well, I hope your plane crashes", words that he would later regret.

Also, Tommy Allsup, another of Holly's bandmates, was supposed to be on that plane but Ritchie Valens had never flown in a small plane so he asked Allsup if he would give up his seat. Allsup agreed to flip a coin for it and Valens won the toss.

The phrase "The Day the Music Died" was made popular by musician Don McLean in his song "American Pie".