1959 - Buddy Holly, JP Richardson (aka The Big Bopper) and Ritchie Valens, along with pilot Roger Peterson, died in a plane crash shortly after takeoff from Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly had hired the plane after heating problems developed on his tour bus. The three musicians were traveling to Fargo, N.D., for the next show on their Winter Dance Party Tour. The date was dubbed "The Day the Music Died" by Don McLean, who sang about it in his 1971 hit, "American Pie."
Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings, also on the tour, are spared by sheer luck: Allsup lost a coin flip for a seat on the plane to Valens, and Jennings let Richardson have the other seat. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
1960 - Frank Sinatra launches the first fully artist-owned label, Reprise Records (pronounced "repreeze"), so he can own his own masters. Frank hated rock n' roll (“It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phoney and false.”), but many came to the label, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell,,
Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and more.
1979 - The Blues Brothers' album "Briefcase Full of Blues" hits #1. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Belushi had the No. 1 movie with “Animal House,” the No. 1 record and was the heart of television’s hottest show, SNL.
2016 - Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White died at 74. White, a former session drummer for legendary Chicago-based labels OKeh Records and Chess Records, aspired to form a band like no other pop music had ever known. It certainly was successful, as EWF combined high-caliber musicianship, a wide-ranging musical genre eclecticism, and '70s multicultural spiritualism.
Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, American blues guitarist, was born on this day in 1935. His ferocious 'Space Guitar' single of 1954 pioneered guitar feedback and reverb. Watson died on 17th May 1996 while on tour in Yokohama, Japan. According to eyewitness reports, he collapsed mid-guitar solo. His last words were "ain't that a bitch".
Dave Davies is 76. As the guitarist and occasional lead singer in the Kinks, Dave Davies played a pivotal role in pushing rock & roll into the modern era, creating the power chord on the band's early rockers "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night." On "You Really Got Me", he got the dirty guitar sound by slashing the speaker cone on his amplifier with a razor blade. The vibration of the fabric produced an effect known as "fuzz," which became common as various electronic devices were invented to distort the sound.
Arthur 'Killer' Kane, bass guitarist with The New York Dolls, was born on this day in 1949.urther's story was captured in a terrific documentary, "New York Doll". From the Dolls to poverty, drugs, booze, attempted suicide, becoming a Mormon...no spoilers here, but it's worth your time.
Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo is 67. As one of the founding members of Sonic Youth and on his own, Lee Ranaldo bridges the gaps between experimental music and the larger world of alternative rock. Along with former bandmate Thurston Moore, Ranaldo developed an innovative approach to the electric guitar with unique tunings and a percussive playing style and lent an atmospheric, vaguely psychedelic undertow to their music
On this Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Song Facts Allmusic, The Herald Times, and Wikipedia.