Category Archives: The Big Bopper

The Day The Music Died

This week’s show commemorated the 50th anniversary of the deaths of rock’n’roll icons Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Jiles Perry Richardson, better known as ‘The Big Bopper’. As Don Maclean sings in ‘American Pie’: “it’s the day the music died”.

Of the three, Buddy Holly in particular had an enormous influence over our musical history. Its hard to believe that he was only 22 years of age when he died, leaving us with a legacy of over 30 timeless hits. Valens is revered for his guitar technique and as the prototypical Latino rocker who anticipated the careers of everybody from Santana to Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys.

The Bopper wrote country music hits for other artists and is credited with creating the first distinct music video. Newly discovered evidence suggests the Big Bopper is also the creator of the world’s first music video. Up until now it was assumed Ricky Nelson’s 1961 “Travelin’ Man” was the first music video, but the Big Bopper actually produced a music video as early as 1958. According to Bill Griggs, editor of the “Rockin’ 50s” music magazine, the Bopper not only made a video for “Chantilly Lace” in 1958 he even coined the term “music video” in a 1959 article. Griggs says the Bopper was convinced that video was the wave of the future and, at the time of his death, he was preparing to start production on music videos for TV and a specially designed jukebox which would play videos. The Big Bopper’s day job was as a DJ on Radio KTRM and based on this clip he was quite the showman.

Holly, Valens and Richardson died together in a plane crash as did quite a few other well known performers, so it seemed a good opportunity to try and honour as many of them as I could during this 2 hours. Stars like Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan all died in aviation accidents and some at a very young age and/or at the peak of their careers.

220px-randy_rhoads1_cropRandy Rhoads played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. Despite his short career, he is cited as an influence by many contemporary heavy metal guitarists. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads often combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. 

While on tour with Ozzy Osbourne he would often seek out classical guitar tutors for lessons. Propelled by Rhoads’ neo-classical guitar work, the album ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ proved an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the USA. He died at 25. The song I played from the Blizzard album was the hit “Crazy Train” which is a great showcase for this amazing musician. 

Another great guitarist, who died in an aviation accident, was Stevie Ray Vaughan. His broad appeal made him an influential electric blues guitarist. He, too, died at a very young age – 35 – in a helicopter accident. Eric Clapton and his band were in other helicopters in the group, travelling together on tour. Everyone else arrived safely and they didn’t realise that the helicopter transporting Stevie Ray Vaughan hadn’t made it until several hours later. Eric Clapton was one of the two people who had to identify Vaughan’s body. And here, due to the wonderful access that You Tube gives us, is what is presented as a guitar lesson from the man himself – but really its so much more than that. 

So many great artists and not enough room here to pay tribute. I’ll let the music do that. During the show we covered a lot of Buddy Holly as well as all the other great artists who died in similar circumstances to him. And we played some great covers by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Los Lobos, k.d.lang and others. Here’s the list:

American Pie – Don McLean

‘The Day the Music Died’ Radio News Flash (original news broadcast of the crash)

Rave On  Buddy Holly

La Bamba   Richie Valens 

Chantilly Lace  The Big Bopper

Rattlesnakin’ Daddy   Hawkshaw Hawkins

Alabam  Copas Country

Crazy   Patsy Cline

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay   Otis Redding

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown   Jim Croce

Sweet Home Alabama   Lynard Skynard

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

Maybe baby  Buddy Holly

Little Darlin  The Diamonds

Sukiyaki   Kyu Sakamoto

Traveling Man   Ricky Nelson

Pride And Joy   Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

One Way Out  The Allman Brothers Band Blues

Thank God I’m A Country Boy – John Denver

Million Dollar Riff  Skyhooks

If I Had Only Known  Reba McEntire

Words Of Love  The Beatles 

True Love Ways   Peter & Gordon (Buddy Holly cover)

Cryin’ Waitin’ Hopin’  Wreckless Eric (Buddy Holly cover)

Come On Lets Go   Los Lobos (Ritchie Valens cover)

Hello Mary Lou  Creedence Clearwater Revival (Ricky Nelson cover)

Not Fade Away  The Rolling Stones (Buddy Holly cover)

Respect  – Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding cover)

Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray  k.d. lang (Patsy Cline cover)

Leaving On A Jet Plane   Peter Paul & Mary (John Denver cover)

Oh Boy  Buddy Holly

Next week, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a lot of songs with ‘Heart’ in them. Tune in!

Lyn McCarthy can be heard on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org


%d bloggers like this: