Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson died 57 years ago today in a tragic plane crash in Mason City, Iowa.

The Day The Music Died

Known as the “The Day the Music Died” since Don McLean referred to it as such in his iconic song “American Pie,” Feb. 3, 1959 left three rising musical talents dead.

Holly, 22, Valens, 17, and Richardson, 24, had taken off from the Mason City Airport en route to Fargo, N.D., the New York Daily News had reported. They had played at Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom the day prior and were scheduled to play a show in Fargo that night. Due to the light snow and heavy wind, pilot Roger Peterson was unable to control the small plane and crashed. Peterson, 21, died in the accident as well.

At the time of their deaths, the three crooners were at the peak of their fame. Holly was known for his hits “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be The Day.”

Valens, meanwhile, had put out the instant classic “We Belong Together” and “Come On Let’s Go.” He’d also just finished his first film, Go Johnny! Go.

As for Big Bopper, he was known for the popular single “Chantilly Lace.”

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