Gotta Travel On: Remembering When the Music Died (2015)
Documentary · 21 June 2015
In late 1958, General Artists Corporation assembled a rock & roll tour that traveled through the upper Midwestern states and featured some of the music's biggest stars. It was billed as the Winter Dance Party and featured Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Dion and the Belmonts and Frankie Sardo. It kicked off on January 23rd, 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became one of the most infamous tours in rock & roll history. Organizationally, the tour was a complete catastrophe. The shows were often scheduled hundreds of miles apart from one another as the tour zigzagged through one of the deadliest winters the Midwest had seen in decades in the worst transportation available. Throughout these chaotic circumstances, the performances remained exciting and the music brought a joy that would remain forever in the hearts and minds of all who attended. Then the unthinkable happened. After their performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2nd, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. the "Big Bopper" Richardson were killed when their chartered airplane crashed shortly after taking off from nearby Mason City Municipal Airport. The flight need not have even occurred had travel arrangements on the tour been halfway acceptable. That day was forever immortalized as "the day the music died" by Don McLean in his 1972 anthem American Pie, as the tour and subsequent tragedy symbolized the end of a period in both rock & roll and American history. An entire era came to a close as the turbulent sixties approached and the Winter Dance Party tour became the swan song for that time.
- Written by
Blue Days Productions
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