A tragic day in 1959,and it will always be remembered as such. The tour was a disaster since the beginning.
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were playing small dates in frozen towns in the upper mid-west, with all of the musicians crammed into a drafty bus, Buddy Holly’s had left with frost bite and everyone was in a bad mood.
Trying to get to the next show ahead of everyone else Holly decided to rent a plane to fly them there, a young pilot named Roger Peterson agreed to fly them. The weather was bad with flying advisories out. The Dwyer airplanes were not licensed for instrument flying, plus Roger Peterson had failed his instrument test recently.
The flying service charged a fee of $36 per passenger. A popular misconception, originating from the song by Don McClean said that the name of the airplane was called the “American Pie”, in fact there is no record that exists of any name ever having been given to the plane except the serial #N3749N. Also it was Holly who asked Dion and the Big Bopper to join him on the flight, not Holly’s band members, Holly said we are the guys making the money, we should fly ahead of everyone else.
The plane took off at 12:55 AM on Tuesday February 3 and around 1:00 AM the pilot failed to make radio contact back to the tower. It was not until around 9:35 AM that the wreckage was spotted less than six miles from the airport.
This will always be remembered as the worst tragic accident in Rock ”n” Roll history. Learn more about the Winter Dance Party Tour of 1959, on the next artist’s of the month featuring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper on the Little Red Rooster Show on KWMC’s the all Classic Hits Station 1490 AM.
All known facts and artist information is by Wendy Johnson and all shows are produced by Javier Martinez.