Winter Dance Party

 The Day the Music Died, dubbed so by a lyric in the Don McLean song "American Pie", is a reference to the deaths of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 1959. Pilot Roger Peterson was also killed.

After terminating his partnership with The Crickets, Buddy Holly assembled a new band consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, to play on the '"Winter Dance Party" tour. The tour also featured rising artists Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, who were promoting their own recordings as well. The tour was to cover 24 Midwestern cities in three weeks.

The distance between venues and the conditions prevalent aboard the poorly equipped tour buses adversely affected the performers. Cases of flu spread among the band members, and Carl Bunch was hospitalized due to frostbite. Frustrated by the conditions, Holly decided to charter a plane when they stopped for their performance in the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Carroll Anderson, owner of the Surf Ballroom, chartered the plane from the Dwyer Flying Service.

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