It’s Been 60 Years Since the Music Died, How it Helped to Launch A Fargo Man’s Career

Bobby Vee filled in for the show which led to a long lasting career

FARGO, N.D. — Sixty years ago today is the day that will forever be known as “the day the music died”. KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us how people around the metro are now remembering Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson and how their tragic deaths thrust a local boy into stardom.

With his guitar in hand and wide brimmed glasses, Buddy Holly was nothing short of an icon.

Especially for the generations who came after him.

“I’ve worn thick, horn-rimmed glasses ever since I was in high school and ever jock sort of guy always thought he was the most clever guy in the world would yell ‘hey Buddy’ at me when I was walking down the hall,” said Aaron Swinkels, Vinyl Giant Records owner.

“And I always thought it was a compliment because these are instrumental people in rock n’ roll,” Swinkels said.

But that music came to a standstill on February 3, 1959.

Holly, along with music masterminds Ritchie Valens, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson died shortly after their plane took off in Clear Lake, Iowa. The flight was headed to Hector International Airport so they could perform at the Moorhead Armory that evening. Holly’s nephew will never forget hearing that his uncle was gone.

“I knew my grandmother and my mom were very upset. They heard about it on the radio first before they heard it anywhere else. It was kind of a shock,” said Eddy Weir, Buddy Holly’s nephew.

But tragedy or not, the show still went on.

A Fargo local would be thrust into the spotlight.

“Bobby Vee was the stand in since they already had the show booked. So he actually made a whole career out of it and he was a local guy. He died just a few years ago. It’s interesting to see the lifespan that these people would’ve had and maybe how much music they would have put out or the even bigger effect they would’ve had on music itself,” Swinkels said.

The performance wasn’t enough to change the events earlier in the day though.

“These guys were writing their own songs and they were well respected by their peers so I think that’s why they called it the day the music died,” Swinkels said.

February 3rd was the day Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper fell silent.

“We wouldn’t have amazing bands today like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or even Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin if these people hadn’t started in this place,” Swinkels said.

But it’s their influence that will live on forever.

Swinkels says Buddy Holly albums and records are so hard to come by these days that he’s only ever seen two in his lifetime so far.

Categories: Community, Entertainment, Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead, North Dakota News