The Day the Music Died
February 3, 1959
Rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed in a plane crash, along with pilot Roger Peterson. Tommy Allsup was supposed to be on the plane, but lost his seat to Valens in a coin toss. Richardson was supposed to ride the bus, but was suffering from the flu and didn’t want to ride the cold bus, so Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave up his seat on the plane for him. As they were preparing for the plane flight, Holly found out Allsup and Jennings were taking the bus, so he joked, “Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up again.” Jennings jokingly replied, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes,” words that would haunt him the rest of his life.
This event became known as “The Day the Music Died”, after Don McLean so referred to it in his song American Pie (1971).