The Day The Music Died

February 3, 2012 by staff 

The Day The Music Died, It was 53 years ago today that a three-passenger Beachcraft Bonanza went down about five miles northwest of Mason City Municipal Airport near Clear Lake. Three musicians aboard had just come from a concert at the Surf Ballroom at Clear Lake. When the plane took off, they were already famous.

When it crashed, they became immortal.

The plane crash took the lives of the pilot, Roger Peterson, and three musicians: Charles Hardin Holley, better known as Buddy Holly, 22; Ritchie Valens (originally Valenzuela), 17; and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28.

While some called it The Day the Music Died, perhaps a better way would be to put it would be that it was the day the music took root and flourished.

Valens shattered stereotypes of Latino musicians that had previously relegated them to mariachi status. Instead, his heartfelt lyrics of a girl named Donna helped break racial and social barriers not only in his home state of California but throughout the country.

Holly helped shatter stereotypes too, stereotypes that claimed that one could not be both religious and a rock ‘n roller. Like his contemporary Elvis Presley, Holly was a deeply religious man who made an indelible stamp on the history of rock and roll.

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