It was the early morning of February 3, 1959. Three rock and rollers, Buddy Holly Ritchie Valens and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson hopped into a small plane along with pilot Roger Peterson for a flight to their next stop on their tour from Clear Lake, Iowa to Moorhead, Minnesota.
Why fly? Buddy Holly had enough of the ice cold, undependable tour bus. So he decided to hire a plane from a local flying service.
They never made it.
In Moorhead there would be no show unless someone took the place of those killed. The locals asked for performers to come forward.
One band had only been playing for two weeks when they volunteered and were selected to play on the show. Emcee Charlie Boone, a disc jockey at KFGO Radio, turned to the band’s singer and asked him the group’s name. He looked at the shadows of his bandmates on the floor and answered: The Shadows.
“I didn’t have any fear right then. The fear didn’t hit me until the spotlight came on, and then I was just shattered by it. I didn’t think that I’d be able to sing. If I opened my mouth, I wasn’t sure anything would come out.”
That night was the beginning of Bobby Vee’s career.
Vee died this week of advanced Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 73.