Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Day The Music Died

If you listened to the radio at all this past weekend, I'm sure you heard ALL kinds of tributes honoring the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper from us on February 3, 1959.

It's hard to believe that it has been fifty years already ... and that this music, which was SUPPOSED to die out in just a few short months back in 1956, is STILL with us and stronger than ever. (In fact, I heard DeeJay Jimmy Jay interviewing Dave Somerville of The Diamonds over the weekend ... Dave, who toured with Buddy Holly regularly back then, recalled the time that he and Buddy had a conversation surrounding this very topic. "How much longer do you think this rock and roll music can last?" asked Dave. Holly replied that he thought it might last another six months ... to which Dave responded, "Well, I hope you're wrong ... I'm hoping we can get another year out of this." LOL ... TOO funny. Who knew?!?!?

Sadly, in retrospect, it probably wasn't much more than six months after this conversation that the music died for Buddy ... he never knew the impact that he, himself, had made on the genre of Rock And Roll ... and how highly regarded his contributions to this new-fangled sound would become. His song catalog has been recorded by literally HUNDREDS of artists over the years ... and we'll never know what MIGHT have been had Buddy's career been allowed to continue and thrive ... instead it's just a constant source of speculation these days.

While this date has forever been immortalized as "The Day The Music Died" thanks to Don McLean's chart-topper American Pie, FH List Member David Lewis reminds us that a tribute titled "Three Stars" made the charts just a short time after we lost these music icons.

Tommy Dee had the most successful version, peaking at #11. (Dee did the narration on this record ... we should point out that the vocals were handled by Carol Kay and the Teen-Aires.) The song also charted for Ruby Wright (#99 ... on her version, the narration was handled by Cincinnati deejay Dick Pike).

But perhaps the most MOVING version was done by rock legend Eddie Cochran, a true contemporary peer of these lost stars. I'm sure it took everything Eddie had to get his feelings down on wax ... and that's the version we're going to share with you today. (You won't find a more emotional reading of this song ... it's virtually impossible for the LISTENER to make it through the whole record without being overcome with emotion ... one can only imagine how difficult it was for Eddie to get through this recording session ... he was clearly beyond tears while committing his thoughts to vinyl.)

Lifetime personal friend of Cochran, John Rook, told me that Eddie broke down in tears when he first discussed Buddy's death with him, after being virtually inconsolable for days after the accident. "Promise me that if something like this ever happens to me, you'll take care of 'Shrimper,'" he said. (Eddie always referred to his mother, Alice Cochran, who was no more than 5'2" tall, affectionately as "Shrimper".) Sadly, Cochran himself would leave us just fourteen months later in a fatal car crash while on tour in Wilshire, England.

Special thanks to Forgotten Hits Reader David Lewis for reminding us about this one ... and to John Rook, a personal friend of Eddie Cochran ... for sharing his memories of this with us as well.
Click here: The Eddie Cochran Connection - Passing Thru by John Rook

For some very special Eddie Cochran photos, Click here: Eddie

More tomorrow ... as our Forgotten Hits Readers remember "The Day The Music Died".