The Day Before The Music Died

(Gibson) Buddy Holly joined the The Winter Dance Party tour, in the winter of '58, for the cash. The Crickets had broken apart; he'd left his record company and was newly married with a baby on the way. To pay the bills, he was touring with a new band of Tommy Allsup on guitar, Waylon Jennings on bass and Carl Brunch on drums.

The headliners were Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (a.k.a. J.P Richardson). It was a tough and relentless tour in a harsh Midwest winter. The tour bus wasn't heated and broke down continually. Holly's drummer even suffered form frostbite at one point. Most of the musicians were ill with colds and flu.

On this day in 1959, Holly, Valens and The Big Bopper played the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Tickets were $1.25. The evening closed with The Big Bopper doing his mega-hit "Chantilly Lace." And then it was to outside to the bus. more on this story

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