Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (also known as The Big Bopper), and Ritchie Valens were all killed in a plane crash in 1959. Investigators attributed the crash to pilot error, but a petition is aiming to get the investigation reopened. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed it is reviewing the case, because it never fully closes any case. The NTSB has two months to review the petition and determine if something was missed in the original investigation.
The plane crash investigation was conducted by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which determined the pilot lacked qualification and certification to fly the plane in adverse weather conditions. Pilot Roger Peterson, who also died in the crash, could not handle the plane under the heavy snow conditions. Retired pilot L.J. Coon sent a letter to the NTSB, asking it to look into other factors that may have contributed to the plane crash. Those other factors include the aircraft’s weight, rudder panel issues, and icing on the carburetor. Holly booked the plane because they were traveling on buses without heat in sub freezing temperatures, and the musicians were getting sick. Country singer Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the plane, but he gave up his seat to Richardson, who was sick.
Buddy Holly is known as a pioneer and most influential force in rock and roll music. His music influenced some of rock music’s biggest stars including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. Holly released three studio albums, The “Chirping” Crickets, Buddy Holly, and That’ll Be the Day. The Crickets was a band led by Holly, and their first single, “That’ll Be The Day,” reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Holly’s solo debut produced some of his most recognizable songs including, “Peggy Sue,” “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” and “Rave On.”
In 1978, the rock and roll icon’s life was depicted in the biographical film, The Buddy Holly Story. The film starred Gary Busey, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Paul McCartney produced a documentary about Holly in 1985, which was titled The Real Buddy Holly Story. The documentary was made because a lot of people, including Holly’s family and friends, felt The Buddy Holly Story was not a proper depiction of Buddy Holly.
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