RITCHIE VALENS: THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED RITCHIE VALENS. Signature: “Ritchie/Valens”, 2½x1¼ pink sheet, laminated. During his senior year in high school, 17-year-old Richard Valenzuela was discovered by Del-Fi Records. As “Ritchie Valens”, his first record, “Come on Let’s Go”, became an overnight success in September 1958. In January 1959, Valens (1941-1959), whose “Donna” (flipside, “La Bamba”) was just hitting the charts, was booked on the Winter Dance Party tour that would cover most of the Midwest. The tour included such headliners as Buddy Holly, Dion and the Belmonts, Waylon Jennings and The Big Bopper. As the bus pulled into Clear Lake, Iowa for their February 2nd performance, Holly made arrangements to charter a plane to fly him and two of his band members to the next gig in Fargo, North Dakota. J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Valens had bad colds and Richardson wanted to fly to Fargo so that he would have time to see a doctor. He asked Waylon Jennings if he would give up his seat and Jennings agreed. Valens asked backup musician and former Cricket Tommy Allsup for his seat, and the two decided to flip a coin to see who would take the plane (Valens called “heads” and won the toss). Allsup later opened a club named The Head’s Up Saloon, a tribute to the coin toss that saved his life. The plane took off from the airport at around 1:00 a.m. on February 3, 1959. The plane made it into the dark snowy night, but plummeted to the ground about five miles from the airport. There were no survivors. The shock felt throughout the music world at this tragic loss is echoed in Don McLean’s song “American Pie” as “the day the music died”. Fine condition. – Please contact us if you have any questions or require additional information. DOCUMENT 269370
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