Edited by Gerald Boerner
Growing up in the 1950s put me at the beginning of the rock-n-roll revolution. It was an exciting time since we had the choice between the songs of the big bands, songs by the classical country-western artists, and the new breed of rock and roll artists. Bill Halley and his Comets was among the first of these latter artists. These performers were exciting. They sang songs in stylings that responded to the interests and needs of those entering their teenaged years in the latter 1950s. Among the top stars that we danced to at junior high and high school dances were Buddy Holly and his Crickets, Ritchie Valens, and, of course, “The Big Bopper” himself!
But we were also a generation that saw some of our biggest heroes lost to accidents and assassination. There was, of course, the assassination of our young, dynamic President, John F. Kennedy. We would lose several to automobile accidents — Patsy Cline and Jane Mansfield. Then there were the (alleged) suicides like that of Marilyn Monroe. And in 1959, there was the event that we look at today — the small plane crash in Iowa that took three of the bright, rising stars of Rock and Roll.
In the cold of winter in the upper mid-west, a small Cessna took off after an evening performance with three of the emerging great idols of the teen generation — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson. I can still remember listening to “Peggy Sue,” “Donna,” “La Bamba,” and “Chantilly Lace” at dances and parties. Those were the songs that captivated our spirits with their catchy rhythms and lyrics. They were also the first of a period of songs that were kept to between two and three minutes so that they could get more air play on the radio. These were the songs that I listened to on KFWB and KRLA.
Without further delay, let’s jump into the exploration of this tragic event and the young artists that we lost on that day… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
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Quotations Related to Rock-N-Roll:
“You can’t stop rock-n-roll!”
— Dee Snider
“You know, there have been a lot of casualties in rock-n-roll.”
— Warren Cuccurullo
“Without Elvis none of us could have made it.”
— Buddy Holly