Rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Iowa. Waylon Jennings, who was supposed to be on the plane, gave up his space to Richardson, who was ill.
Pilot error (pilot was not qualified to fly by instruments) and bad weather were blamed for the accident. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with "That'll Be the Day."
Holly used a shorter spelling of his name (it was actually “Holley”) when it was recorded wrong in a contract and he just liked the shorter spelling better.
He was a charter (first year) inductee into the newly formed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Singer Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit "American Pie," which refers to February 3, 1959 as "the day the music died."
Click here to hear "American Pie" by Don McLean