Having three influential artists suddenly die at once left a large dent in the American music scene. It inspired Don McLean to write his classic song “American Pie.” I would like to take today’s entry to remember the tragic events that happened 54 years ago.
“American Pie” by Don McLean is a true American treasure. At over 8 minutes long, it is one of the longest songs to ever be played on the radio in its entirety. The ambiguous lyrics have confused fans for years. McLean attempts to explain them on his website here. The song lives on, particularly in the form of people who wish to relive the ‘good old days’ and music trivia questions.
J.P. Richardson, Jr., or “The Big Bopper” was a prominent songwriter who had just begun to experience fame with his song “Chantilly Lace.” He wrote George Jones’ first no. 1 hit, “White Lightnin’”
Ritchie Valens’ recording career only lasted 8 months. He was considered the first Latino to cross over into mainstream pop. His most famous hit is “La Bama,” a Mexican folk song that was sung entirely in Spanish.
I would not attempt to explain Buddy Holly’s significance here— He left too great of an impact on the music industry to be explained by me, a “musical amateur.” However, he is one of my favorite artists, and I listen to his work frequently.
“That’ll be the Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets
“Rave On” by Buddy Holly
- This Day in History…The Day the Music Died!!! (sector7studio.la)
- Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper – movies about the day the music died (metronews.ca)
- The Day the Music Died (alabamawx.com)