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home : columnists : columnists November 25, 2015

1/23/2014 12:16:00 PM
The music that didn't die...
Along the Way - Rosie Schluter

It seemed like a good idea at the time. They were leaving Clear Lake, Iowa and heading for Moorhead, MN for their next gig. It was February 2, 1959.

Instead of riding in a cold bus, Buddy Holly hired a private plane to get some of the band members there early.

According to reports, Holly kidded a band member who had given up his seat on the plane by saying, "I hope your ol' bus freezes up!" And the band member shot back in fun, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!" This joke haunted him thereafter because just after midnight, on Februrary 3, the airplane carrying Holly, the "Big Bopper" - J. P. Richardson and Ritche Valens crashed.

All on board died. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old.

Holly was one of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Rolling Stone ranked him number 13 among the 100 Greatest Artists of All time.

Holly was one of the first in his style of music to write, produce, and perform his own songs. Because of his poor vision, he had to wear glasses. Soon they would become part of his image.

Recently, the Shepherd's Center of Cannon Falls held a fundraiser inviting John Mueller, whose band does an impression of the famous musicians recreating memories of "The Day the Music Died."

The Cannon Falls high school auditorium was sold out. Over 600 people bought tickets. I couldn't wangle a press pass either.

I got there 45 minutes early and was told that 200 people had been lined up earlier!

I found a place in the front row - not taken because you couldn't see the whole stage! Plus, the loud speakers for the sound system were about 6 feet away!

I thought - so what? When I was a teenager I would turn up the stereo as loud as I could - so I could feel the floor vibrate... when my folks weren't home of course!

I hadn't been a Buddy Holly fan back then. In fact, I really only knew one of his songs, "Peggy Sue."

But I thought I would learn something by going to the concert.

And the "beat" got to me! It was the same as others I remembered. And when the band invited folks to dance, I couldn't resist!

I wouldn't have though if I had been in another town. But I had just passed the police chief, my friend, who was on duty watching the crowd to make sure things were safe... and my editor had taken my seat because I wasn't using it... and so I threw my purse and camera to the gal in the next seat (it's a small town and I knew her!)... and because the lights were focused on the stage and nobody would see me (yeah right!), Paul and I danced. Later on, other folks would do so.

Like "Buddy Holly" said, it was music where you could understand the words!

But there were some other gals in the audience who are fans. They call themselves, The Katfish Kittens. They are 25-year-olds from St. Paul dressed in '50's vintage outfits. (Actually, I've probably got some of those still in my closet.) Crystal Doffing is a teller at a bank, Drea Warda will soon take her bar exams to be an attorney for international business negotiations and Andrea Geiger is a materials manager for a small medical device company.

But I wondered... did we really wear these clothes? I remember having pony tails... and "saddle shoes"... but Buddy Holly glasses?

And then I remembered this cute guy in history class at the University of Minnesota. And those glasses he wore were really "cool!" And it's over 50 years later and I smile because I also took his last name for mine!

And as I recall those times, I think that as long as there are people who enjoy these songs, their music will never die.

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