Today in Music History: The Day the Music Died

The Day the Music Died
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson (aka the Big Bopper) (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, Courtesy of the artist, Allan H. Plant/Getty Images [via NPR])

History Highlight

On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly, JP Richardson (aka The Big Bopper) and Ritchie Valens, along with pilot Roger Peterson, died in a plane crash shortly after takeoff from Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly had hired the plane after heating problems developed on his tour bus. The three musicians were traveling to Fargo, N.D., for the next show on their Winter Dance Party Tour, which covered 24 cities in three weeks. Holly had arranged the tour after the breakup of his band, The Crickets. The date was dubbed "The Day the Music Died" by Don McLean, who sang about it in his song, "American Pie."

Also, today in:

1968 - The Beatles started work on their new single "Lady Madonna" at Abbey Road studios in London.

1973 - Elton John started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Crocodile Rock". It was the first of Elton's five U.S. No. 1 singles.

1979 - The Blues Brothers went to No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Briefcase Full Of Blues.

1992 - Pearl Jam began their first-ever European tour with a date in Southend-on-Sea, England, where they played to 300 people. The tour would later take Pearl Jam to Norway, Sweden, Holland, France, Spain and Italy.

2006 - Former Dynasty star Heather Locklear filed for divorce from Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora after 11 years of marriage. Locklear had previously been married to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.

2008 - Adele's debut album 19 went to No. 1 on the U.K. album chart. It would later peak at No. 4 in the U.S. album charts.

2014 - Bruce Springsteen was at No. 1 on the U.S. chart with his eighteenth studio album High Hopes. The album is a collection of cover songs, out-takes and re-imagined versions of tracks from past albums, EPs and tours.

2016 - Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White died at 74.


Angelo D'Aleo, the singer with Dion And The Belmonts (who had a No. 1 hit in 1961 with "Runaround Sue"), is 77.

Dennis Edwards of the Temptations is 74.

Dave Davies, guitarist with The Kinks, is 70.

Melanie, the singer and songwriter of the hit single, "Brand New Key", is 70. Her full name is Melanie Safka.

Arthur 'Killer' Kane, bass guitarist with The New York Dolls, was born on this day in 1949.

Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo is 61.

Big Audio Dynamite guitarist Nick Hawkins was born today in 1965.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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