The United States’ first major Chicano Rock & Roll star was killed early today (February 3, 1959), in a plane crash that also killed fellow stars Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.

All of the performers on the plane had appeared at the Surf Ballroom, and were heading to appear in Fargo, North Dakota on the “Winter Dance Party,” in a plane that Buddy Holly had chartered.

Buddy Holly chartered a Beechcraft Bonanza plane from the Dwyer Flying Service, because the tour bus carrying musicians like Dion and The Belmonts, Waylon Jennings and other acts on the tour, had no heater.

The situation was so dire, that Buddy Holly’s drummer was actually hospitalize due to frostbite on the tour.

The Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed shortly after it took off from the Mason City Municipal Airport, while attempting to make it to the next date.

Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly Big Bopper Die In Plane Crash Today

Ritchie Valens
Ritchie Valens

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.