ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES 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
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".