June 16, 2017
Interesting.....Right now as I am getting ready to send this I am in Lubbock, Texas and have just come from the Buddy Holley museum. The day before that was in Clovis, New Mexico and visited the Norman Petty Museum where Holly recorded his early music. Been very interesting...I wrote the below sometime back...saw Holly perform once...he was something sadly gone at twenty-two and Valens at seventeen...the Big Bopper at twenty-four and the pilot Roger Peterson at age twenty-one.
Just some thoughts:
"Hey let's flip for it."
How many times have you heard that line? How many times have you said it or had it said to you? Probably more than any of us can count. Normally when the side of the coin, heads or tails, one has called comes up, they win.
The year was 1959 and he was on tour. He was a young seventeen kid out of California riding the wave of a big hit song. He was not the headliner on the tour, that would be another young twenty-one year old out of Texas. This tour was doing one night shows in the worst time to be traveling in this area of the country. February. They were traveling by bus, a bus that most times had no heat and was capable of breaking down daily. which it had been doing. The travel had been so bad on the bus that the band's drummer was in a hospital in the last city they had played. He was minus two toes he had lost to frostbite when the bus had broke down.
That night they were playing a date in Clear Lake, Iowa and the next night they were to be in Moorehead, North Dakota. The star of the tour decided to makes plans and charter a plane to fly himself and two others so they might get to the next date earlier, rest and clothes cleaned,etc.
Word spread among the performers that a plane had been charted and now suddenly everyone wanted to fly. There were only three passenger seats on this small chartered plane. One of the performers (Dion) backed out when he learned the cost. He said that was what his parents were paying monthly for rent back in New York City. Another who had first said he would fly backed out in exchange for the use of this fellas sleeping bag saving him much needed money. Next, one of the musicians that said he would go was approached by this young seventeen year old asking if he could have the seat. The two agreed to flip for the third seat in the plane. The young man said, "I'll take heads." Heads it was. He won... the coin flip.
When the show was over the three young men along with the twenty-one year pilot headed for the air strip. About 1:00 that night the plane took off with the pilot twenty-one year old Roger Peterson and his three passengers, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, the legendary Buddy Holly and the young man who had won his seat on the plane. He had won this seat with a flip of a coin, Richie Valens. Sadly the plane crashed in corn field just a few miles from where it had taken off. All four passengers were killed.
You know sometimes when one may think "They have won"....It can be "They have lost."
February 3, 2016