The Day The Music Died American Pie
On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and "The Big Bopper" J. P. Richardson were all killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson.[a] The event later became known as "The Day the Music Died" after singer-songwriter Don McLean referred to it as such in his 1971 song "American Pie".
The Day the Music Died American Pie
GAC-Super Productions, the organization that booked the tour, later received considerable criticism for their seemingly total disregard for the conditions they forced the touring musicians to endure:
Later, Richardson and Valens began experiencing flu-like symptoms and drummer Bunch was hospitalized for severely frostbitten feet after the tour bus stalled in the middle of the highway in subzero temperatures near Ironwood, Michigan. The musicians replaced that bus with another school bus and kept traveling. As Holly's group had been the backing band for all of the acts, Holly, Valens and DiMucci took turns playing drums for each other at the performances in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Clear Lake, Iowa, with Holly playing drums for Dion, Dion playing drums for Ritchie, and Ritchie playing drums for Holly.
The most widely accepted version of events was that Richardson had contracted the flu during the tour and asked Jennings for his seat on the plane. When Holly learned that Jennings was not going to fly, he said in jest: "Well, I hope your damned bus freezes up." Jennings responded: "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes", a humorous but ill-fated response that haunted him for the rest of his life. Valens, who once had a fear of flying, asked Allsup for his seat on the plane. The two agreed to toss a coin to decide. Bob Hale, a disc jockey with Mason City's KRIB-AM, was emceeing the concert that night and flipped the coin in the ballroom's side-stage room shortly before the musicians departed for the airport. Valens won the coin toss for the seat on the flight. Valens is apocryphally said to have remarked, "That's the first time I've ever won anything in my life."
The Bonanza had impacted terrain at high speed, estimated to have been around 170 mph (270 km/h), banked steeply to the right and in a nose-down attitude. The right wing tip had struck the ground first, sending the aircraft cartwheeling across the frozen field for 540 feet (160 m), before coming to rest against a wire fence at the edge of Juhl's property. The bodies of Holly and Valens had been ejected from the fuselage and lay near the plane's wreckage. Richardson's body had been thrown over the fence and into the cornfield of Juhl's neighbor Oscar Moffett, while Peterson's body was entangled in the wreckage. With the rest of the entourage en route to Minnesota, Anderson, who had driven the party to the airport and witnessed the plane's takeoff, had to identify the bodies of the musicians. County coroner Ralph Smiley certified that all four victims died instantly, citing the cause of death as "gross trauma to brain" for the three artists and "brain damage" for the pilot.
On March 6, 2007, in Beaumont, Texas, Richardson's body was exhumed for reburial. This was due to the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark being awarded to the Big Bopper's original grave site, where a bronze statue would subsequently be erected. Forest Lawn cemetery did not allow above-ground monuments at that specific site, and Richardson's body was moved at the cemetery's expense to a more suitable area. As the body was to be placed in a new casket while above ground, the musician's son, Jay Perry Richardson, took the opportunity to have his father's body re-examined to verify the original coroner's findings and asked forensic anthropologist William M. Bass to carry out the procedure. A longstanding rumor surrounding the accident, which this re-examination sought to confirm or dispel, asserted that an accidental firearm discharge took place on board the aircraft and caused the crash. Another longstanding theory[clarification needed] surmised that Richardson initially survived the crash and subsequently crawled out of the wreckage in search of help before succumbing to his injuries, prompted by the fact that his body was found farther from the plane than the other victims. Bass and his team took several X-rays of Richardson's body and eventually concluded that the musician had indeed died instantly from extensive, unsurvivable fractures to virtually every bone in his body. No traces of lead were found from any bullet, nor any indication that he had been shot. Coroner Smiley's original 1959 report was, therefore, confirmed as accurate.
Paquette also created a similar stainless-steel monument to the three musicians located outside the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Holly, Richardson, and Valens played their penultimate show on February 1. This second memorial was unveiled on July 17, 2003. In February 2009, a further memorial made by Paquette for Peterson was unveiled at the crash site.
In future installments of this multipart interview series with musician Don McLean, we discuss his approach to recording contracts, his musical influences early-on and now, climate change, the mink coat he bought his mother, and more. Stay tuned to the Forbes Lifestyle channel.
Musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson died along with the pilot Roger Peterson in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. In the thick of winter, the poor flight conditions led to the Peterson losing control of the plane, causing it to crash and claim the lives of all four people on board.
One of them was Buddy Holly, a singer-songwriter who wrote many songs during his short career and is credited with defining the rock and roll lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums. His music had a huge influence on musicians such as Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
The story of America - our past and our future. More than just a song or a man, this documentary film is about a major cultural moment in America's history that has followed us from the 1970s. Featuring a new generation of artists, inspired by the same values & ideas that inspired Don McLean in writing American Pie -- one of the great musical touchstones of pop music and culture. The Day The Music Died: American Pie is directed by American cinematographer / filmmaker Mark Moormann, director of the doc films Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, For Once in My Life, and The Record Man previously. To help bring the documentary to life, Don McLean enlisted music producer and songwriter Spencer Proffer, CEO of media production company Meteor 17. Produced by Spencer Proffer. Paramount will debut the music doc The Day The Music Died: American Pie streaming on Paramount+ starting July 19th, 2022 this summer. Who's in?
As the film progresses, it follows many of the same beats other music documentaries follow. First, you have a wide range of people talking about the importance of the song. (I give them massive credit for having Garth Brooks). Then you have the story of Mclean growing up, his rise, and his influences. Last, you had Mclean break down what inspired the song and even touch on some rumors about what the song was about.
In order to bring the documentary to life, McLean looked to music producer and songwriter Spencer Proffer, CEO of media production company Meteor 17. Collaborating together, Proffer and McLean work to tell the story of this song by using contemporary techniques, and reimagining the music for a modern audience.
The original song was released in 1971 and became a cultural landmark in music. The song would remain number one in different charts around the world for several weeks. American Pie also coined the term, "The Day the Music Died," which refers to the tragic plane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson which resonated with many contemporary musicians.
In 2017, American Pie was selected to be preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its cultural and artistic impact. Echoing the wave of recent music documentaries on streaming such as The Beatles: The Get Back, The Day the Music Died is shaping up to be an emotionally moving film that will honor the legacy of the original song.
The story of America - our past and our future. More than just a song or a man, this film is about a cultural moment in America's history that has followed us from the 1970s. Featuring a new generation of artists, inspired by the same values & ideas that inspired Don McLean in writing American Pie -- one of the great musical touchstones of pop music and culture.
The 90-minute film includes archival news clips, interviews with musicians like Garth Brooks and Brian Wilson, dramatizations by actors and footage of McLean visiting the last place Holly, Valens and Richardson played before the crash.
'THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED: The Story of Don McLean's "American Pie"' features celebrities including Garth Brooks, Bon Jovi, John Mayer and more, and explores how the moment that McLean dubbed "the day the music died" and "American Pie" impacted the fabric of American music.
"I hope when people hear this song again after watching, they're gonna have a whole new experience, and they're gonna get to know me a little better," McLean said. "I'm a hair-brain guy, you know. I have a lot of stuff going on in my head, and I managed to find ways to put it into music. They're going to feel entirely different about each other and the country and the history of what we've been through."
When McLean wrote the song decades ago, the United States was engulfed in turmoil, much like it is now. There were street protests and cries for social justice paired with the impact of the Vietnam conflict. However, the lyric "the day the music died" refers to the 1959 plane crash in Iowa that killed rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. The documentary starts there and then goes back to the Surf Ballroom, where the men played their last show. McLean talks about being a paperboy and delivering papers emblazoned with news of the crash, which later sparked the song. The documentary does a deep dive into McLean's life and motivations and gives a detailed analysis of "American Pie." 041b061a72