February 8th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Sixty two years ago last Wednesday will forever be known as “The Day the Music Died.” Rock and roll pioneers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper”, J.P Richardson, were killed when their plane, headed for Moorhead, MN, crashed into a frozen cornfield near Clear Lake, IA, just six miles from take-off. Holly chartered the flight after his tour bus broke down and fellow musician Carl Bunch ended up in the hospital with severe frostbite. Don McLean referred to that day as “The Day the Music Died” in his 1971 song, “American Pie”.

Fans of the late, great musicians call the plane crash “the first and greatest tragedy rock and roll has ever suffered.” Over the years several memorials have been created in their honor, including a steel guitar and three records bearing the three performers’ names, a giant pair of Holly’s famous Wayfarer-style glasses marking the crash site, and Don McLean’s hit song “American Pie.”

Fifteen year old Bobby Vee and his Fargo band, The Shadows, were called upon to fill in for Buddy Holly at the Moorhead engagement because he knew all the words to Buddy’s songs.  Bobby Vee went on to become a music legend of his own.  He had 238 Hot 100 chart hits.

The Vee family lived in the St. Joe area and for many years they performed as the headline act for the annual Joetown Rocks fundraiser here in St. Joseph.  Let us hope that we will be able to rock in St. Joe to music in the streets in 2021.

“One kind word can warm three winter months.” Japanese Proverb

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