Sixty years ago today (February 3), Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash just outside of Clear Lake, Iowa.
Decades later, “The Day The Music Died” remains one of biggest tragedies and “What if?” scenarios in music history.
We’ll never know what future these musicians had in store, but we can find solace in the great songs they left behind. In their honor, take a listen to these ten tracks below.
Buddy Holly – “Peggy Sue”
“Peggy Sue” was originally called “Cindy Lou” after Holly’s niece, Cindy, and his sister, Patricia Lou. Drummer Jerry Allison, however, was dating a woman named Peggy Sue and talked Holly into changing the title. The rest is history.
Ritchie Valens – “La Bamba”
“La Bamba” was the b-side to “Donna” and would peak on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 22. Los Lobos would cover the song in 1987 for the Valens biopic of the same title. Their cover would top the Billboard Hot 100.
The Big Bopper – “Chantilly Lace”
“Chantilly Lace” would be Richardson’s biggest success and netted him a number six hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Crickets – “That’ll Be The Day”
“That’ll Be The Day” was Holly’s lone number one hit in his short career.
Ritchie Valens – “Donna”
“Donna” was Valens’ most successful single. At the time of his death, it was number three on the Billboard Hot 100 but would move up to number two in the weeks after his tragic passing.
Buddy Holly – “Rave On!”
Originally recorded by Sonny West, Holly’s recording would peak on the Billboard Hot 100 at 37 in 1958.
Ritchie Valens – “Come On, Let’s Go!”
“Come On, Let’s Go!” was Valens’ debut single, which topped out on the Billboard Hot 100 at 42.
George Jones – “White Lightning”
Richardson wrote “White Lightning,” which became a number one hit on Billboard’s country-western chart in 1959.
Buddy Holly – “Everyday”
The b-side to “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday” is beautifully minimalistic, with drummer Jerry Allison playing the song’s catchy rhythm on his knees instead of an actual instrument.
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.