by Robert Wilkinson
A moment of profound silence now for a truly sacred moment in the history of modern music. 1500 miles from where I sit, all of us, for however long or short a moment, felt a universal experience, even if we didn't know it for hours or days or years. Just because we don't register a sensation does not mean it's not happening!
55 years ago Buddy Holly, the blazing musical comet who transformed popular music forever, died in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa, at the tender age of 22. His career only lasted about 18 months, but he left a wake that touched every songwriter in pop music who came after him.
It has been sung that on that day "the music died." While it did snuff out an amazing promise, perhaps it's also just another sacred moment that consecrated a very young man to immortality. His story of the rock and roller going down in a plane crash became a prototypical legend, and he was followed by many more who died at way too young an age. "Only the good die young...."
Here’s Don McLean, sending up his paen to “the day the music died,” “American Pie”
Here’s the great Sonny Curtis, lead player for the Crickets after Buddy’s death and writer of “I Fought The Law” and other hits, in a live acoustic performance offering up “The Real Buddy Holly Story”
From February 1999, a one hour documentary! VH1 Behind the Music – The Day the Music Died
In a interview that runs almost 7 minutes, Tommy Allsup tells of the coin flip with Ritchie Valens. Tommy was Buddy's guitar player on that Winter tour that killed Buddy, Ritchie, and JP. His is the classic solo on "It's So Easy." Waylon Jennings (yes, THAT Waylon!) was Buddy's bass player on that tour, and as per the legend he had given up his seat on the plane to the Big Bopper, who had the flu. What is not so known is that Tommy had the 3rd passenger seat. Richie was not supposed to be on the plane. How did Ritchie Valens become part of history and legend? Check out the clip.
Those who want to see early clips of Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, the other two performers on the plane, please go to the 2013 Buddy Holly birthday tribute linked in the second paragraph. I have it all, and more!
RIP Buddy - You only inspired about a hundred of my songs, and countless more from the Beatles, Stones, Stevie Winwood, the Grateful Dead, and at least ten thousand other songwriters and bands. Aum and blessings. Thanks for the tunes.
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson