Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Standing in For Buddy

February 3, 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the so-called, 'The Day the Music Died.' That is, the day Buddy Holly and three others died in the crash of a small plane near Clear Lake, Iowa. It also marks the anniversary of the beginning of a long musical career of a man who played an important role after the crash – Bobby Vee. 

You've probably heard of Vee or at least some of his songs. He was a popular singer in the early/mid 1960's, with several hit songs, including Take Good Care of My Baby, and The Night Has A Thousand Eyes. These songs are significant in the history of popular music, but oddly enough, it was the Holly tragedy that helped to propel Vee to his own musical career. 

On that long ago day, Vee (his real name was Bob Velline) was a 15-year-old aspiring musician in Fargo, ND, right across the Red River from Moorhead, MN. Early that morning, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson died in a plane crash on their way from Clear Lake to Moorhead. The rock and roll stars were scheduled to play a show that night at the Moorhead Armory and had hired Peterson to fly them ahead of the rest of the band and crew. 

Vee, along with his brother Bill, and several high school friends, were planning to attend the concert, but when Vee heard about the crash and a radio announcement seeking a replacement band, he seized the moment, and volunteered to play the show in Holly's place. It was a pickup band, and they had only a few hours to rehearse before taking the stage. They played well enough for many to notice, helping to launch Bobby Vee as an international singing star. 

Credit goes to Vee and his friends for having the vision and the guts to step in for the great Buddy Holly. Vee died in October 2016 at age 73, best remembered for his hit songs, but also for standing in for the great Buddy Holly on the day he died. 


Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'Twisted Logic: 50 Edgy Flash Fiction Stories''The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories','A Sports Junkie''The Avery Appointment''Between the Fuzzy Parts', and 'Jonathan Stephens Is Just A Kid'. His books are available in paperback and e-book.
He writes about sports for Season Tickets, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

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