Among the benefits I find of being a cynic and a wise ass are that I’m extremely comfortable with learning how wrong I can be, and I am really good at heartfelt apologies. In light of comfirmation that The Day the Music Died was a page 66-worthy news item in The New York Times, although I have not reached that point in my cycle of cynicism, I do think it’s important that we reach consensus on the following sincere and positive question: Continue reading »
Tuesday, February 3, 2009, marks the 50th Anniversary of The Day the Music Died, that is, for those of you…
Too young to have grown up with Don McLean’s “American Pie”
Too sober and reasonable to have ever been at a “normal person” bar with patrons drunkenly singing along to said song as an acoustic cover duo signals Last Call
Blessed enough to have missed Madonna‘s atrocious cover of said song from its brief appearance on the charts a few years ago
…the day an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper went down near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the three early rockers and the plane’s pilot.
(Holly’s the guy who looks kind of like Gary Busey.)
If the sentiments of McLean’s song and rock criticism are to be believed, this momentous event – together with Elvis Presley‘s induction in the U.S. Army, Jerry Lee Lewis‘ marriage to his 14-year-old cousin, and Little Richard‘s swearing off of rock ‘n roll in favor of The Lord – would set the stage for a few years of mostly wimpy rock ‘n roll and indirectly lead to John F. Kennedy’s assassination and England’s Profumo Affair, the latter a sexual scandal involving a politician that would provide a slap to the butt of the newborn Beatles, reawaken The Power and Glory of Rock, and many years after the fact introduce me to the cute-as-a-button screen presence of Bridget Fonda.
The small plane was supposed to have carried only Buddy Holly and two bandmates, including future country music icon Waylon Jennings, but Valens and JP Richardson (ie, Bopper) subtly pulled rank and took the Crickets’ seats. Bad move for the opening acts, but a boon of varying degrees for Gailard Sartain, Gilbert Melgar, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Stephen Lee, among other actors who’ve had the honor of portraying these artists in films, telemovies, and stage plays. Continue reading »
On the 50th Anniversary of this great day in rock, I wonder if this truly were a Rock Nation what holidays we would celebrate. Would today be one of them? Does The Day The Music Died qualify as a reason to have a parade, set off fireworks, or drink green beer?
I’m too young to have remembered Buddy Holly or Richie Valens, but I grew up with their music all around me. Maybe this would really be a better Mother’s Day post, because Mom’s the one who really got me interested in Rock n’ Roll (the Rock Nerd Obsession was not the desired effect, I’m sure), and Buddy Holly was mom’s favorite. She loved all the big stars of the ’50s, but she said Buddy was the one.
In eighth grade I took a History of Rock class. It was 1976, and it was a full year and counted as a real music class, even good for high school. I think that was a pretty progressive class back then, and I don’t think they offered it much more than that one time. We got to bring in records, and I loved the early part of the class because I had records I could borrow from my mom to bring in. Digging Chuck Berry was weird enough, but Buddy Holly was pretty unknown in our Jr. High; so while I was excited the only person in the room as excited as me was my teacher. We often just had conversations between the two of us with 25 other kids slack jawed or sleeping around us. He’s the one that explained how Buddy’s arrangements and studio knowledge was way ahead of the game to me. He used to say, “Man, if that plane hadn’t crashed I think you’d hear more Latino rhythms in rock ‘n roll from Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly would have done a studio masterpiece like Sgt. Pepper years before The Beatles.” He had some other theories I tend to agree with too, but I was just excited to see that Buddy was more to the world than just some old guy my mom liked.
On this great and very special day in rock history, I’d just like to take a step back from the daily hubbub, and the bickering, the cynical asides and take my All-Star Jam opportunity to tell you all that I love you.