Country Legend reflects On ‘The job the Music Died’

This month marks the 60th anniversary the the plane crash that eliminated teen idols Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and also JP “The big Bopper” Richardson. As the years tick by, the number of men who were there the fateful night is dwindling as they take your memories to the grave, yet there’s one legend whose powerful testimony quiet hits like a freight train almost two years after his very own passing.

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Country legend Waylon Jennings, that passed away in 2002 in ~ the period of 64, was interviewed as part of the February 3, 1999 episode of VH1’s Behind the Music. A member of girlfriend Holly’s band and also a friend to the so late musician, Jennings offered up a an effective testimony of his last hours through Holly, the seemingly innocent life or death decision that made to give up his seat on the airplane to a noble friend, and the final words to Buddy Holly that would certainly haunt him because that decades.


The night of February 2, 1959 was bitterly cold.

So cold, in fact, the the rickety, unheated tourism bus delivering Holly and his bandmates Carl Bunch, Tommy Allsup and also Jennings damaged down ~ above the means to the Surf Ballroom in clear Lake, Iowa, causing frostbitten toes and a hospital remain for Bunch. Identified to uncover another, much more comfortable, setting of transportation for himself and also his band, Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza v the on purpose of simply flying into Moorhead, Minnesota because that the next date on the Winter dance Party Tour.

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Suddenly, the seating plan changed.

Following that night’s display at the Surf Ballroom, guitarist Tommy Allsup lost a coin toss with 17-year-old Ritchie Valens for one of the three seats ~ above the plane. Waylon, approached by JP Richardson who was enduring from the flu and also asked if might take his point out on the plane, voluntarily provided up his very own seat top top the Beechcraft Bonanza – a decision that would at some point haunt the future country legend for decades.

When Holly discovered that Tommy and also Waylon had provided up your seats ~ above the aircraft in exchange for one more freezing night on their tour bus, great old fashioned ribbing ensued; that jokingly called Jennings together he was getting ready to leave, “Well, i hope your ol’ bus freezes up!”. Jennings replied, “Well, I hope your ol’ aircraft crashes!”

Those were the critical words the 2 friends would ever before share. Not lengthy after takeoff, the Beechcraft Bonanza transferring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The huge Bopper crashed right into a field in clear Lake, Iowa, death all 3 stars and their pilot, i get it Peterson.

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Jennings told Behind the Music, “God Almighty, because that years I thought I caused it.” Haunted through the ordeal, he likewise revealed the the after-effects of the crash and his parting words to his old girlfriend left him at a loss – exactly how do you relocate forward after together a monumental an individual tragedy that to be 100%, unequivocally not your fault? 

“I was just trying to number out what to do with myself, girlfriend know? ns was a fully changed person. Ns quit because that a while – I wouldn’t also play a guitar, i wouldn’t pick it up.”

Thankfully, that didn’t last long.

Jennings relocated to Arizona where he to be able to placed some that his pains memories of that fateful night behind him, forging ahead v a brand-new band – Waylon and also The Waylors, a undertaking that marked the start of what ultimately resulted in a glowing career constructed entirely on his very own terms, and a lasting heritage as among the most fiercely respected names in country music history.

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Wherever buddy is, we’re sure he greeted his old girlfriend Waylon through a hug and a clap ~ above the back, all set to struggle the phase together for the first time in much, lot too long.