Archive for Ritchie Valens

Rock Moment: The Day The Music Died

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Repost: Published in 2009, still of interest today.


To this day, people still mourn the musical talent who died in a plane crash in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1959.  A small airplane, carrying rock stars Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, crashed only minutes after taking off from Mason City, Iowa, in a snowstorm.

The three had just played the “Winter Dance Party” and were heading to the next stop in Fargo, North Dakota.  Richardson was 28, Valens was 17, and Holly was only 22 years old.   Richardson, from Beaumont, Texas, was already a proven commodity with not only his own hits, but songs buddyhollyhe wrote – “Running Bear” for Johnny Preston and “White Lightning” for George Jones – becoming hits as well.  Valens influenced such later acts as Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys and was the subject of a 1987 hit movie.

But perhaps the greatest loss was Buddy Holly – he was certainly one of the most original musicians ever, and a monumental talent in rock and roll.  In only two short years he had grown powerful enough to control everything he wrote and recorded and at the time of his death he was planning to produce music for other artists as well as his own.  Holly was the iconic rocker, the first to perform as the leader of his own band and the first to employ the now-standard singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer lineup.

If he had lived, perhaps Holly would have faded away or would have deteriorated like Elvis into a paunchy embarrassment playing Vegas casinos.  But I don’t think so.  You see what Buddy Holly could have been when you look at great artists who have survived and thrived over decades – artists with great integrity like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

Even though he had a relatively short musical career, and even though he was only 22 years old at the time of his death, and more than 50 years after his plane nosedived into a snowy Iowa cornfield, Buddy Holly remains one of the most important artists ever in rock and roll.

YouTube: Buddy Holly & the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue” in 1957

MP3: “Rave On” by Buddy Holly

MP3: “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

YouTube: “American Pie” by Don McLean

MP3: “Buddy Holly” by Weezer

YouTube: “Rock Around With Ollie Vee” from The Buddy Holly Story biopic

Rock Moment: February 2, 1959

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by 30daysout

Repost: This is from last year, still of interest today.



The Big Bopper

The Winter Dance Party 1959 , featuring Buddy Holly, J.P “Big Bopper” Richardson, Ritchie Valens and Dion and the Belmonts, was set to cover 24 Midwestern cities in three weeks. Touring is hard enough, but when the heating system on your bus constantly breaks down in sub-zero temperatures, people can reach their breaking point. By the time the tour pulled into Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1959, Holly was fed up.

Holly came up with the idea to charter a plane to the next gig in Moorhead, Minn. Not only was he fed up with the bus, but he was running out of clothes and wanted to do some laundry. After the gig at the Surf Ballroom, Holly told the guys that there were three seats and the cost was $36 a piece. Dion couldn’t fathom spending that much money. That was rent for the month. Richardson, who had come down with the flu, couldn’t take another night on the bus, so he asked Holly bandmate Waylon Jennings for his seat. Jennings agreed. Holly then started breaking his balls by saying “I hope the bus freezes up.” Jennings countered with “I hope your plane crashes.”


Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens, the 17-year old phenom, had never been on a small plane before and asked Holly’s other bandmate, Tommy Allsup, for his seat. Allsup initially refused, but after playing a second set, decided to flip a coin for the seat. Valens called “heads” and shortly thereafter Allsup was heading for the cold bus.

Just after midnight on Feb. 3, Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper headed for the airport in Mason City, Iowa.

Tomorrow: The next day, and the next 50 years

MP3: “Come On, Let’s Go” by Ritchie Valens

MP3: “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens

MP3: “Donna” by Ritchie Valens

MP3: “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper

MP3: “The Big Bopper’s Wedding” by the Big Bopper

Beaumont Enterprise photo gallery featuring “The Big Bopper” and local radio personality Gordon Baxter delivering an on-air eulogy in 1959

Buddy Holly and the Crickets Official Website

Ritchie Valens Official Website

“Big Bopper” Official Website

It’s (more than) time to enshrine Neil Diamond!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by 30daysout


Dusty Springfield, Del Shannon, Brenda Lee, Ritchie Valens, The Ronettes, the Dave Clark Five, The Dells and The Shirelles. These are just a few of the artists in the Rock and Roll of Fame while the great Neil Diamond stands outside the gates waiting to get in. Are you kidding me? How is it that I even have to write this blogpost?

Diamond is one of the most successful singer-songwriters in music history. He’s only sold nearly 160 million albums worldwide, and has penned some of the world’s most popular songs.

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