The Day The Music Died

I feel as though I “knew” Buddy Holly. I’ve owned and listened to his songs by him and the Crickets

and also through the cover versions by the Beatles (Words of Love), Linda Ronstadt and lots of others. Little wonder that Paul McCartney snatched up the rights to Buddy’s songs. I also saw the The Buddy Holly Story with Gary Busey in the lead.

I felt as though I was familiar with Richie Valens,


between the Los Lobos cover of La Bamba and the movie La Bamba with Lou Diamond Phillips.

I have little feel, though, for The Big Bopper. I know that his son had him exhumed under some bizarre paranoid theory that the Big Bopper survived the plane crash but was shot and killed going for help. But other than the one slightly randy hit Chantilly Lace, he’s a mystery.

Of course today mars the 50th anniversary of the deaths of these three musicians in an Iowa plane crash. I was alive but too young to remember the event first hand.

At the end of my 35-year high school reunion, someone had everyone stand around to sing. I had no idea what it’d be. Turned out to be American Pie, which I thought was kind of weird, in as much as it came out after we all graduated. Some people knew some parts, misremembered others. Here are the lyrics, along with one interpretation of same, not all of which I ascribe to. And here’s Don McLean singing it. I saw him in the late 1970s – I’m thinking in Dutchess County, NY, around Poughkeepsie – and of course he HAD to perform it. I wonder if he ever tires of it?


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