Feb. 3, 1959: The day the music died
Today is the 48th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Rock N' Roll's Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, aka The Big Bopper. Shortly after performing on a stop on their Winter Dance Party tour, a small plane carrying the three stars and a pilot crashed shortly after takeoff on a snowy night in Clear Lake, Iowa. Singer Don McLean would later record a song -- American Pie -- about the tragedy, calling it "the day the music died."
In 1987, the story of Ritchie Valens and his premature death was revived thanks to a movie starring a newcomer named Lou Diamond Phillips. "La Bamba" also featured the music of Valens re-recorded by Los Lobos.
Some more trivia about La Bamba:
- Other 80s musicians played their 1950s counterparts, including Marshall Crenshaw as Buddy Holly and Brian Setzer as Eddie Cochran.
- Ritchie Valens' real mother -- Connie Valenzuela -- makes a cameo in the movie, sitting next to Phillips at a family party.
- Ritche's real brother -- Bob Morales -- was on set during filming to help the actors, supplying more details of the family members they were portraying.
- Though the part of Ritchie was stiffly written, Phillips won good reviews for his first time as leading man. He went on to star in 1988's Stand and Deliver and Young Guns.
One more 80s connection: Madonna would later cover the song "American Pie" (as part of the soundtrack to the movie "The Next Best Thing" in 2000). It became a No. 1 hit in several countries, but not the United States.
[Sources: IMDB.com, Fiftiesweb.com]