Last Tuesday, February 3rd, was the 50th anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, who died in an airplane crash about ten miles from Clear Lake, Iowa in a cornfield owned by Albert Juhl. The trio were on a Winter Dance Party tour of the midwest, and in the midst of a crazy winter storm, made even crazier by one broken down tour bus after another, they decided to charter a plane to the next stop. Well, of course, they didn't make it. The event became known as "The Day The Music Died." We all know the music did not die, but I suppose at the time, it seemed like it surely was destined to.
Around four years ago, I started a MySpace page dedicated to Buddy Holly. I have been a huge fan of his ever since I bought The Complete Buddy Holly six cassette package back in 1979. Since then, I have met and photographed Tommy Allsup, who was on the road with Holly during that fateful tour, and who would have been on the plane had it not been for a coin toss he lost to Ritchie Valens. I've corresponded with the real Peggy Sue (Gerron), had a good friend get me the autographs of the Crickets: Jerry Allison, Joe Mauldin and Sonny Curtis, got to know Sonny West, who wrote Rave On and Oh Boy! and found out he knew my dad's friend, George Hudson, talked with Holly historian, Bill Griggs a few times, conversed with Kevin Montgomery, who's dad, Bob Montgomery, was the duet partner of Buddy Holly prior to the Crickets, talked with Billy Walker, who recorded in the same Clovis, New Mexico studio as did Buddy Holly, talked to Buddy's niece a few times, and was affiliated with buddyholly.com prior to its demise.
This past weekend, I added my 10,000th friend on that MySpace page. I don't remember the name of the person, or where they were from. I can get up to 30 or more friend requests per day, so it's not at all uncommon for me not to get to know each and every person on there, however, I do try to communicate when I can. When I set out to do the page, I never dreamed I would one day have over 10,000 friends on there. The neat thing is, I have never gone looking for any friends there. Each and every person has come to my page and wanted to be a part of it. When I made the page, it was only so we could have a place on MySpace to enjoy the music of Buddy Holly. It has always been a page for the fans! In another week, my page will have been visited by over 118,000 people from all over the world. I literally have people on my friends list from every corner of the globe. On the 50th anniversary of the plane crash last Tuesday the 3rd, I spoke to a guy who said he watched a program dedicated to Holly, Valens and Richardson on Bulgarian TV. That day, I received messages from such places as Italy and Japan. My favorite part was a guy in Lubbock, Texas who told me he was about to leave to go visit Buddy's gravesite there in Lubbock. Before he left, I requested he do me a favor, which he did. On Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, 2009, this man whom I don't even know, went to Buddy Holly's grave and said "Randy Speck says Thank You Buddy Holly!"