Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, three legendary singers died in a plane crash today (February 3, 1959) near Clear Lake, Iowa, while traveling to Moorhead, Minnesota to perform a concert.
Holly, 22, had chartered the plane because he was fed up with the miserable conditions on the “The Winter Dance Party” tour. The conditions were so dire that Holly’s drummer Carl Bunch was frostbitten in his feet while on the tour.
Band member and future country star Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to a sick band member, while Ritchie Valens, 17, “won” a coin toss for a seat on the plane that fateful evening.
The man who discovered Ritchie Valens, Bob Keane of Del-Fi, also released Sam Cooke’s first secular recordings on the Keen label.
The Big Bopper, 28, who was riding the charts with “Chantilly Lace” was with Holly and Valens that terrible night, when their plane crashed near Mason City in the early morning hours of February 3.