Category: Music legends

Crash site

February 3, 1959 — The Tour From Hell

Tragic plane crash

They were so young. Buddy Holly was 22, the Big Bopper was 28, and Ritchie Valens was only 17. And the pilot, Roger Peterson, whose name is forgotten, was 21.

HERE’S HOW IT WENT DOWN

Buddy Holly and his new band — Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup and Carl Bunch — were on a “Winter Dance Party” tour across the Midwest. Up-and-coming artists Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) and Dion (DiMucci) and the Belmonts also joined the tour.

The musicians traveled by bus, which turned out to be five different buses because they kept breaking down and had to be replaced. The buses were not equipped for the weather, which consisted of temperatures as low as minus 36 degrees F (minus 38 degrees C) and waist-deep snow in several areas.

Because of the bitter cold, some of the musicians got the flu. Carl Bunch was even hospitalized with frostbite.

FATEFUL COIN TOSS

After the group had performed at Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy Holly decided to charter a light plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza, to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The plane had room for only three passengers and since the Big Bopper had the flu and wanted to get there as quickly as possible he took Waylon Jennings’ seat on the plane and Waylon stayed on the bus.

In another twist of fate, Richie Valens and Tommy Allsup tossed a coin for the remaining seat. Valens won the coin toss, saying, “This is the first time I’ve ever won anything.”

News headline

The organization that booked the tour, General Artists Corporation, reportedly showed “a total disregard for the conditions” in which the musicians travelled.

They didn’t care. The tour from hell — that’s what they named it.

— Buddy Holly historian Bill Griggs
DETAILS OF THE FLIGHT HERE
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Wiki bio

This cool guy saved the life of a music legend

Folk singer John Baldry was born on this day, January 12, 1941, and the world of music thanks him from the bottom of its collective heart.

If “Long John” Baldry — he was 6-feet-7 — had never been born, an unknown pianist named Reggie Dwight might have been doomed.

Back in 1969, keyboard musician Reginald Dwight was engaged to be married to a young woman. There was one problem. Dwight was secretly gay. In those days the closet door was firmly closed.

Male homosexuality was a criminal offense in Britain until 1967 — punishable by forced medication and/or jail time.

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE

As the wedding day approached Dwight was torn up inside and sank into a deep depression. He tried to kill himself.

Enter Dwight’s pals, singer John Baldry, who was also gay, and lyricist Bernie Taupin. They told their friend to admit his true sexuality and call off the wedding.

Taupin and Baldry and Elton john
Reg Dwight and Bernie Taupin

Dwight told his fiancée, Linda Woodrow, the truth and the wedding was cancelled. Dwight later changed his name to include part of Baldry’s, and the rest, as they say, is history.

🎵 ’Saved in time, thank God my music’s still alive’ 🎵

The “someone” in Elton John’s 1975 hit “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” which was written by Taupin, is Long John Baldry — Sugar Bear in the song.

PIONEER IN BRITISH ROCK SCENE

John Baldry, who died on July 21, 2005, was known as a pioneer in the British blues-rock scene in the 1960s.

He started out as a folk singer, touring Europe with American Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and formed a couple of different bands, one with the afore-mentioned Reg Dwight on keyboard, and another with a guy named Rod Stewart.

Rod Stewart and John Baldry, back when.

Baldry’s one big hit was “Let the Heartaches Begin,” which went to No. 1 on the British charts in 1967. This is one sweet song.

ROD STEWART WAS THERE FOR HIM

When John Baldry died in Vancouver, Canada, on July 21, 2005 at the age of 64, Rod Stewart was at his bedside.

P.S.

Elton John did not publicly come out as gay until 1988.

Linda Woodrow later moved to America, got married and had three children.

John Baldry Wikibio HERE