Early on the morning of February 3, 1959, a plane crashes in an Iowa corn field killing 4 people. It has been called the “day the music died” and is considered a rock and roll tragedy. What isn’t  well known is that not all the music died that day?  Two prolific musicians and song writers didn’t die.

Could the flip of a coin change your life?

For guitar player Tommy Allsup it did. 50 years ago today, Mr. Allsup gave up his seat on a chartered plane with Buddy Holly. The ill fated flight ending up killing Buddy Holly, J P “The Big Bopper” Richardson, Richie Valens and Roger Peterson the charter’s pilot. The tragedy has immortalized the trio forever in Rock and Roll history. Cheating death Allsup has gone on to perform more than 7000 shows since that fateful night.Â

Allsup was not the only person spared on that terrible night. Waylon Jennings who played bass for Buddy Holly was set to make the flight but gave it up to allow Richardson who was suffering from the flu to see a doctor at the next tour stop. Jennings is a member of country music’s hall of fame.

While the plane crash crushed part of the Rock and Roll music movement the three singers were not completely immortal until they were immortalized by  Don McLean in his hit “American Pie“.

But February made me shiver

With every paper I’d deliver.

Bad news on the doorstep;

I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride,

But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died.

So bye-bye, miss american pie.

Drove my chevy to the levee,

But the levee was dry.

And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye

Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.

“this’ll be the day that I die.”

I don’t think the music died but was influenced by these three. My favorite Buddy Holly song is “Maybe Baby” most notably heard in the movie “American Graffiti.” Richie Valens “La Bamba” reminds me of hearing the Los Lobos cover of the song somewhere in Sacramento and it takes me back to my high school days.