By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (February 3, 2022) – In Issue 2022-023 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we pause to remember Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper”.


February 3, 1959 is immortalized in the Don McLean song American Pie as “the day the music died.” CLICK HERE to hear/see a live performance of “American Pie” by Don McLean.

The event he refers to is the plane crash which took the lives of early rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” (J. P. Richardson). 

Buddy Holly and his band were performing in the Midwest on the Winter Dance Party tour, joined by Valens, Richardson, and Dion and The Belmonts.

Frustrated by the cramped quarters, long travel times, and sickness being passed around in the tour bus, Holly decided to charter a flight from Clear City, Iowa to the next destination in Minnesota.

Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup, members of Holly’s band, should have been on the flight, but Jennings gave his seat to Richardson who had the flu and a coin toss between Allsup and Valens decided the last spot.

If you go to visit the memorial at the crash site, which is located on a private farm, you’ll find the access road designated by a giant pair of Buddy Holly-style glasses.

Here is Colton’s folding map of Iowa from 1864.  The crash occurred in the north central part of the state.

Map of Iowa from 1864

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.