On this day in 1959 ...


A plane bound for Moorhead carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, crashes near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the three musical stars and the aircraft's pilot, Roger Peterson.

Fresh off a concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, headliner Holly and up-and-comers Valens and Richardson had been traveling by bus through the midwest on their "Winter Dance Party" tour. Their bus had already broken down once due to bitter cold and heavy snow, while members of the tour were stricken with flu due to the less-than-ideal conditions.

With these factors weighing heavily on Holly and the group, he decided to charter a plane despite a blizzard that hit Iowa that night.

Just a few minutes into their flight, the plane would go down in a cornfield, throwing the passengers into the snowy, frigid conditions. There was little evidence of direct cause surrounding the incident, though a mix of brutal conditions and pilot error was believed to have instigated the crash.

Because of the harsh weather, rescue efforts could not reach the plane until morning, and after 10 hours in the cold and snow, all four were pronounced dead.

WCCO-AM legend Charlie Boone (then of KFGO in Fargo) was slated to emcee the concert in Moorhead, but he would never get the chance.

The three would be immortalized by many after their deaths, including the first to do so, Eddie Cochran, with his song Three Stars.

The most recognizable of the musical tributes to Holly, Valens, and Richardson came from Don Mclean, with his nearly nine-minute ode, American Pie.

Next Up

daunte wright funeral - siblings

Mourners remember Daunte Wright, plead for justice

Wright was killed by a now-former Brooklyn Center police officer on April 11.


HealthPartners: COVID hospitalizations driven by unvaccinated, middle aged adults

The health provider says the average age of its hospitalized patients is trending downwards.

Andrew Thomas booking photo

Man suspected of shooting at National Guard in Minneapolis faces more charges

He has now been charged in Hennepin County District Court with more serious crimes.


Investigation finds EPA mishandled oversight for PolyMet mine permits

A new report found the EPA didn't follow its own procedures when it submitted comments on the proposed project.


MDH's new COVID guidance urges weekly testing for those involved in sports

Those not involved in school sports are still advised to get tested every two weeks.

Trey Lance

With loaded QB draft class, now is the time for Vikings to act

With a strong class, this year might be the time to select Kirk Cousins' successor.

Kellen Mond

Coller: Is a 'developmental' quarterback worth it?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

highland bridge

St. Paul announces names of parks at Highland Bridge development

Construction on the parks will begin later this year.

State Capitol

MN House passes omnibus public safety bill with police reform measures

The Senate previously passed its omnibus public safety bill without police accountability legislation.

Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 8.37.25 AM

'That's not me,' divorce lawyer with same name as Chauvin attorney clarifies

Nelson is a pretty dang common name in Minnesota, dontcha know.