Buddy Holly & three others killed in air crash (1959)

Original publication: Lubbock Evening Journal (Lubbock, Texas) Date: February 3, 1959
Categories: 1950s, Entertainment, Newspapers, Notable people
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1959-Rock 'n' roll star Buddy Holly & three others killed in air crash

Lubbock rock ‘n’ roll star killed

Buddy Holly, three others in air crash

lubbock-journal-buddy-holly-obituary

Ritchie Valens, J P Richardson, Pilot Also Dead

Buddy Holly, 22-year-old Lubbock rock ‘n’ roll singing star, was killed along with three other men in the crash of a light chartered plane northwest of Mason City, Iowa, this morning, the Associated Press reported.

Two of the other victims, Ritchie Valens, [17], of Los Angeles, and J P “Big Bopper” of Richardson, Beaumont, also were known nationally-known rock ‘n’ roll singers.

The fourth person killed was Roger Peterson, the pilot, of Clear Lake, Iowa.

Parents live here

buddy-holly-killed-Lubbock Evening Journal February 3, 1959Holly, whose parents are Mr and Mrs L O Holly, [1305] 37th Street, was with a troupe of rock ‘n’ roll performers currently touring the country on one-night stands.

Young Holly married a native New York girl about six months ago. Her whereabouts was not immediately available.

The Associated Press said Holly, Valens and Richardson had decided to fly ahead to Fargo, ND, where the group was to appear tonight after a show Monday night in Clear Lake.

Other members of the troupe who were traveling by bus include Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Sardo and The Crickets, a a quartet which Holly organized and starred with until about three months ago.

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Appeared at Clear Lake

The three singers had appeared at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Monday night. A strong southerly wind and light blowing snow filled the air when the plane took off about 1 am today, the Associated Press said.

The Beechcraft Bonanza burned when it crashed in a field on the Albert Juhl farm 15 miles northwest of Mason City.

Holly was described by friends as “probably one of the biggest entertainment celebrities ever to hail from Lubbock.”

Organized The Crickets

The young singer broke into the “big time” two years ago this summer when he organized the Crickets, a rock ‘n’ roll quartet who made several appearances on national television.

The Crickets’ rendition of “That’ll Be The Day,” their first record, sold over a million copies. “Peggy Sue” was another of their best sellers.

Holly had composed a number of songs including “Love Me,” “Don’t Come Back Knocking,” “Words of Love,” “Look At Me,” and “Little Baby.”

He started with music at the age of 8 on a violin. When be was 15, he switched to guitar and accompanied himself to his songs.

Made other recordings

Holly broke with the Crickets about three months ago in a harmonious move. Since the break, he had recorded “It Doesn’t Matter Any More,” and “Raining in My Heart,” with a full orchestra in the background. The record had been gaining in popularity, according to nationwide polls.

Valens’ manager, Bob Keene, said, “He was the hottest singer in the country. Everybody was saying he was the next Presley.”

Valens was to release album

Keene said the singer, who would have been 18 in April, was to release his first record album later this month.

“The original plan called for us to introduce the album on Valentine’s Day, and we planned to call it a ‘Valens-Time day,'” Keene said.

Valens is survived by his mother who resides in nearby San Fernando. His record “Donna” was ranked sixth in the country in popular music.

UPI said the plane was demolished and the bodies mangled.

“They were hardly recognizable,” a spokesman at the airport said. Jerry Dwyer, owner of the flying service craft to the trio, said the plane was in good condition.

He said he set out to look for the party when no word came back from Peterson, the pilot, and the craft was discovered after a brief search.


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Source publication: Lubbock Evening Journal (Lubbock, Texas)

Publication date: February 3, 1959


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