Dan Terry Productions
  The Day The Music Died

The Day The Music Died, dubbed by Don McLean's song "American Pie", was an aviation accident that occurred on February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, where rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson, perished.
On a cold winter's night a small private plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa bound for Fargo, N.D. It never made its destination.

When that plane crashed , it claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Jigs J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson. Three of Rock and Roll's most promising performers were gone.

Performing in concert was very profitable and Buddy Holly needed the money it provided. The "Winter Dance Party Tour" was to cover 24 cities in a short 3 week time frame and Holly would be the biggest headliner. Waylon Jennings, a friend from Lubbock Texas and Tommy Alsup would go as backup musicians.

Ritchie Valens, probably the hottest of the artists of the time, The Big Bopper and Dion of the Belmonts would round out the list of performers.

The tour bus developed heating problems, it was so cold on-board that reportedly one of the drummers developed frostbite riding in it. When they arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, they were cold, tired and disgusted.

Buddy Holly had enough of the unheated bus and decided to charter a plane for himself and his guys. At least he could get some laundry done before the next performance.

That night the at the Surf Ballroom was magical as the fans went wild over the performers. J.P Richardson known as The Big Bopper to his fans, was a Texas D.J. who found recording success with the song Chantilly Lace.

 Ritchie Valenzuela was only 16 years old when Del-Fi record producer, Bob Keane rearranged his name to Ritchie Valens, and in 1958 they recorded Come On Let's Go. Far more successful was the song Valens wrote for his girlfriend, Donna, and it's flip side, LaBamba, a Rock and Roll version of an old Mexican standard.

Charles Hardin "Buddy" Holley changed his name to Holly due to a misspelling on a contract and his band, The Crickets, had a number one hit in 1957 with the song That'll Be The Day. This success was followed by Peggy Sue and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. By 1959, Holly had decided to move in a new direction and he and the Crickets parted company. Holly Married Maria Elena Santiago and moved to New York with the hope of concentrating on song writing and producing.

Dwyer Flying Service got the charter at $36.00 per person for a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza. It had serial numbers N3794N and NO, the plane wasn't named American Pie.

Waylon Jennings gave his seat up to Richardson, who was running a fever and had trouble fitting his stocky frame comfortably into the bus seats. When Holly learned that Jennings wasn't going to fly, he said, "Well I hope your old bus freezes up." Jennings responded, "Well, I hope your plane crashes." This friendly banter of friends would haunt Jennings for years.

 Alsup told Valens, I'll flip you for the remaining seat. Valens won the seat and Alsup the rest of his life.

The plane took off a little after 1 a.m. from Clear Lake and never got far from the airport before it crashed, killing all on board.

Snow drastically reduced visibility and the ground was already blanketed in white. It's believed the pilot may have been inexperienced with the instrumentation.

One wing hit the ground and the small plane corkscrewed over and over. The three young stars were thrown clear of the plane, leaving only pilot Roger Peterson inside.  According to the medical examiner, everyone died instantly.

Over the years there has been much speculation as to whether a shot was fired inside the plane which disabled the pilot. Logic suggests that encased in a sea of white snow, with only white below, Peterson just flew the plane into the ground.

 Deciding that the show must go on at the next stop in Moorehead, MN, they looked for local talent to fill in. Just across the state line from Moorehead, in Fargo, ND, they found a 15 year old talent named Bobby Vee.

The crash that ended the lives of Holly, Valens Richardson was the break that began the career of Bobby Vee and, Waylon Jennings would become a hugely popular country singer.

Dion Francis DiMucci would enjoy a long lived solo career. Inscribed on Ritchie Valens grave are the words, "Come On, Let's Go."

The 1950's and 1960's provided us with some of the greatest music ever recorded and also the best recording artists the world has ever seen. The top 100 recording artists of the 50's and 60's era are listed below.     
  1. Elvis Presley
  2. The Beatles
  3. James Brown
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Pat Boone
  6. Aretha Franklin
  7. Marvin Gaye
  8. Ray Charles
  9. The Beach Boys
  10. Fats Domino
  11. Neil Diamond
  12. The Temptations
  13. The Supremes
  14. Ricky Nelson
  15. Connie Francis
  16. Frank Sinatra
  17. Paul Anka
  18. Dionne Warwick
  19. The 4 Seasons
  20. Brenda Lee
  21. Nat "King" Cole
  22. Perry Como
  23. The Miracles
  24. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
  25. Gladys Knight & The Pips
  26. Bobby Vinton
  27. The Everly Brothers
  28. Brook Benton
  29. Four Tops
  30. The Platters
  31. Andy Williams
  32. Sam Cooke
  33. Jackie Wilson
  34. Bobby Darin
  35. Johnny Mathis
  36. Chubby Checker
  37. Roy Orbison
  38. Dion (Dion & The Belmonts)
  39. Neil Sedaka
  40. Glen Campbell
  41. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
  42. The 5th Dimension
  43. Patti Page
  44. Tommy James & The Shondells
  45. Johnny Cash
  46. The Drifters
  47. Three Dog Night
  48. Tom Jones
  49. Wilson Pickett
  50. The Impressions'
  51. Jerry Butler
  52. Johnny Rivers
  53. Dean Martin
  54. The Isley Brothers
  55. Bobby Vee
  56. Bobby Rydell
  57. Chuck Berry
  58. Dave Clark Five
  59. Herman's Hermits
  60. Jimmie Rodgers
  61. Simon & Garfunkle
  62. Al Martino
  63. Frankie Avalon
  64. B.J. Thomas
  65. Paul Revere & The Raiders
  66. The Monkees
  67. The Shirelles
  68. The Righteous Brothers
  69. Johnny Tillotson
  70. Marty Robbins
  71. Petula Clark
  72. Duane Eddy
  73. Jan & Dean
  74. Bill Haley (And His Comets)
  75. Gene Pitney
  76. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  77. Smokey Robinson
  78. The Who
  79. The Rascals
  80. Ray Stevens
  81. Tony Bennett
  82. Otis Redding
  83. Bobby Goldsboro
  84. The Guess Who
  85. Martha & The Vandellas
  86. Joe Tex
  87. Bob Dylan
  88. The Hollies
  89. Steve Lawrence
  90. Tommy Roe
  91. Sly & The Family Stone
  92. Bobby Bland
  93. The Marvelettes
  94. The Kinks
  95. The Four Lads
  96. Joe Simon
  97. Jr. Walker & The All Stars
  98. The Animals
  99. Mary Wells
  100. The Grass Roots

50's and 60's Television

1. Captain Kangaroo (Puffin' Billy)
2. The Little Rascals
3. The Flintstones
4. Woody Woodpecker Show
5. Casper, The Friendly Ghost
6. Felix The Cat
7. Popeye
8. Yogi Bear
9. Magilla Gorilla
10. Top Cat
11. The Jetsons
12. Howdy Doody
13. The Beverly Hillbillies
14. Petticoat Junction
15. Green Acres
16 Mr. Ed
17. The Munsters
18. The Addams Family
19. My Three Sons
20. The Donna Reed Show
21. Leave It To Beaver
22. Dennis the Menace
23. Dobie Gillis
24. The Dick Van Dyke Show
25. Gilligan's Island
26. McHale's Navy
27. I Dream of Jeannie
28. I Love Lucy
32. The Andy Griffith Show
29. Star Trek
30. Lost In Space
31. The Twilight Zone
32. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
33. Superman
34. Batman
35. Flipper
36. Combat
37. The Rifleman
38. Bonanza
39. F-Troop
40. Rin Tin Tin
41. Daniel Boone
42. The Wild Wild West
43. The Lone Ranger
44. Happy Trails
50. Mission: Impossible
51. Get Smart
52. Secret Agent Man
53. Dragnet
54. Perry Mason
55. Adam-12
56. Hawaii Five-O
57. 77 Sunset Strip
58. Surfside 6
59. Mannix
60. The Mod Squad