Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blue Days, Black Nights

Feb. 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Iowa plane crash (into a cornfield of all the lame ways to go) that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that it was half a century ago. Time flies when you're having fun. (Get it- a plane joke? Time flies, like a plane? And they died, which is not fun at all, do you see the sarcasm I did there? Distasteful. I know. I should be shot. Out of a plane and into a cornfield. Hey yo! Sorry.) I guess it's better for some legends to die in their glory so we can remember them at their peak, instead of watching their decrepit aging over the years. The Big Bopper would probably look like Dom DeLuise by now and Buddy Holly like a less neurotic Woody Allen.

I was born far too late in the century (the disgusting 70's) and not into the lifetime I was meant for. (Thanks, jebus, apparently you do make mistakes. Check your inbox before my next life, dude.) So I missed being able to see acts like Buddy or Ritchie. I could leave the "meh" Big Bopper, and by the way, "Chantilly Lace" is annoying as hell, but this is a memorial so I should be, like, respectful or some crap. One memory I do have to honor these fine boys is this: One of the first movies I vividly remember seeing in the theater was La Bamba. I was almost 12 and cried like a jackass in the movie theater- the part when Bob was on the bridge and yelled "Ritchiieee". Good god. The sobbing. It was so good that I kept reminding myself that it wasn't really Ritchie, just Lou Diamond Phillips. (The same way I get lost in Dennis Quaid's portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis. Only now that I'm all growns up, I've developed a borderline nutbag crush on him in that movie. What am I, 13? More about my pathetic and nerdy psyche on another day.)

Should you wanna party like it's 1959 and are in the Lubbock, Texas area, stop by the Buddy Holly Center where there will be exhibits, discussions and a guided tour all day fo' free on Feb. 2nd and 3rd.


Everything's bigger in Texas.

But for an even more significant Holly/Valens/Bopper outing, the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa (the area of the plane crash) is having a big shindig to honor the boys, complete with a collection of memorabilia & personal items of the trio on display and a pretty rockin' lineup of acts set to perform like Wanda Jackson, Tommy Allsup, Bobby Vee and plenty others. I've heard tickets have long since been sold out, but you can still visit the crash site and wear black socks with sandals and leave behind some retarded hand written note on construction paper with glitter and take pictures like the dorky tourist that you are.



  1. Buddy friggin' rocked, plain and simple. I think his sound went on to influence quite a few musicians and Im with you on the Big Bopper, meh.

    A few years ago, me and whats her name went to have "Winter Dance Party" in Nothern IA. It wasnt Clear Lake or anything, but the show was great. I also saw The Buddy Holly Story Stageplay in Vegas when I was last there and that was an incredible 3 hour show. It made ya misty in some parts.

    Buddy was kick ass.

  2. buddy holly's music def. influenced some of our musicians today and they have referred to him as being their influence.

    i cried watching 'la bamba' as well, i too, had to pull myself together to remember it was just a young lou diamond phillips...
    when i see him in movies now, i always think of him in that movie.

    oh well. a respectful and decent post you honored the boys nicely.


  3. Hey Kiddo.

    Got up this AM and started listening to Buddy. Its amazing when you really just sit there and listen w/ no distractions, when you can feel his free spirit and his love for creating music.

    Its cool how if you try hard enough you can link him to a ton of the groups we listen to now.

    Rave on Buddy.

  4. Funny you should mention that, b/c Rave On is my all-time favorite BH song. I could listen to it 5 jillion times in a row and not get sick of it. Give or take a jillion.

  5. Yeah, Rave On is mine also. Stop copying me!!!!

  6. My shoe broke at that show. I vividly remember that part. We (me and anonymous) took my Mom as you know, she lived then and all and we didn't. It was actually at the venue in my home town that they played mere nights before the Surf Ballroom event, so a significant part of the whole Winter Dance Party deal.

    My shoe!!!!!! I'll never get over it.