The Late Movies: The Day the Music Died

Chris Higgins

"A long, long time ago...I can still remember how that music used to make me smile." So begins Don McLean's "American Pie," a 1972 song about the death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper"), and pilot Roger Peterson in a tragic plane crash. If you don't know the full story, check out Miss Cellania's excellent post about the day the music died. Below, check out McLean's song, and some performances by the artists who died fifty-one years ago today.

"American Pie" - Don McLean

"Do you believe in rock 'n roll? Can music save your mortal soul, and can you teach me how to dance real slow?"

"Peggy Sue" - Buddy Holly & The Crickets

They're rock and roll specialists.

"That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue," and "Oh Boy" - Buddy Holly & The Crickets

Audio-only, live from the London Palladium, March 2, 1958.

"Oh Donna" - Richie Valens

"Well, darlin', now that you're gone, I don't know what I'll do. All the time and all my love for yo-ou-ou...."

"Chantilly Lace" - The Big Bopper

"There ain't nothing in the world like a big-eyed girl, make me act so funny, make me spend my money, make me feel real loose like a long-necked goose, like a girl, oh baby that's what I like." (What?)

Got More Videos? Post Them in the Comments!

There's lots more Buddy Holly material out there (my favorite -- he was a musical idol for me in high school), a bit of Richie Valens stuff, and honestly not much from The Big Bopper. There are a TON of impersonators of all these guys; a quick YouTube search may shock you. Anyway, post your favorites in the comments!