THAT FATEFUL DECISION – THE DAY THAT THE MUSIC DIED.
In our normal every day lives we make decisions all the time. February 2nd 1959 was a day that all of the Rock and Roll world would live to regret one of Buddy’s decisions.
On that day Buddy along with Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens was in the midst of a gruelling tour criss - crossing the American mid west. Buddy’s wife Maria Elena was pregnant and he was in the middle of a legal battle to recover upto £ 100, 000 from his former Manager – so money was tight and he had to go on that Winter tour to earn some cash. They were exhausted by long unreliable coach journeys, in conditions that were so icy that Buddy’s drummer was in hospital with frost bite. Their show in Iowa finished at midnight – it was then that Buddy made the fateful decision to charter a light aircraft to take him to their next show in Minnesota, some 500 miles away. Maria Elena had a dread of small planes so, when Buddy phoned her, he just said that he was going to find some alternative form of transport.
Amongst the Rock and Roll artists on that tour competition was fierce to trade a freezing cold journey for the two remaining seats on that aircraft. B ass player Waylon Jennings surrendered his seat to a flu ridden Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens persuaded guitarist Tommy Allsup to toss a coin for the last seat. Ritchie won saying in delight "That’s the first thing I ever won".
Taken in a matter of minutes, it is frightening to think what an impact those decisions had on the Rock and Roll world. If we thought too hard about our own decisions that we have made throughout our lives, and any possible impact, would we have made them?
February 3rd 1959 sometime just after 1 am that morning the plane took off. It was icy cloudy weather and the pilot was not qualified to fly in such conditions. The plane travelled just 4 miles before crashing to the ground at 170 mph killing the pilot and his 3 passengers. Maria Elena was so distraught by the news that she suffered a miscarriage robbing the world of Buddy’s only child,someone who could have possibly continued Buddy’s heritage. Maria Elena was so ill that she was unable to go to her husband’s funeral.
A thousand mourners attended the service at Lubbock Texas on Feb 7th 1959 where mourners heard his favourite gospel song "I’ll be All Right". The only consolation is that Buddy Holly’s legacy does still live on.
But – you rock and rollers out there - Be careful about those decisions you make with your lives.
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