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50 Winters Later

12:01 AM Wednesday 1/28/09 | |

To honor the 50th anniversary of “The Day the Music Died,” the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, is hosting “50 Winters Later” tribute concert Feb. 2, featuring performances by artists influenced by or connected to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

  • 50 Winters Later

    A poster of Buddy Holly hangs in the entrance of the Surf Ballrom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
    January 9, 2009

    (AP Photo)


The trio performed the night of Feb. 2, 1959 at the Surf Ballroom along with Dion DiMucci of Dion & The Belmonts and Waylon Jennings as part of the Winter Dance Party tour.

After the show, the music legends were killed along with their pilot when their plane crashed into a cornfield a few miles away. The other members of the Winter Dance Party bands were on the tour bus, making the 400-mile trek to Moorehead, Minn., for the next show.

Tommy Allsup, who played lead guitar for Holly’s band, The Crickets, and Jennings, who played bass for Holly, were supposed to be on the plane but gave up their seats to Valens and the Bopper.

Fifty years later Allsup will take part in the 50 Winters Later tribute show, as will Graham Nash, The Crickets, Bobby Vee, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely and Wanda Jackson. All tickets are sold out, according to the event’s Web site.

  • The Surf Ballroom

    The dance floor in the Surf Ballrom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
    January 9, 2009

    (AP Photo)


SIRIUS XM Radio host Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow will be the emcee and the tribute portion of the concert will include appearances by Sandra Boynton, Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens, Chris Montez, J.P. Richardson Jr., Peter & Gordon and Sir Tim Rice.

Along with the tribute concert and weeklong celebration kicking off Jan. 28, the Surf Ballroom is celebrating its new status. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has just announced the venue’s addition to its list of designated rock ’n’ roll landmarks.

Although Holly’s family has been fighting over alleged unpaid royalties with Universal Music Group for 15 years, according to Reuters, the parties have made up for the time being to collaborate on a pair of multi-disc CD sets, which were released Jan. 27.

The three-CD Memorial Collection includes Holly’s hits “That’ll Be The Day,” “Not Fade Away,” “Peggy Sue” and “Rave On” and seven recordings previously unreleased in the United States.

  • Crash Memorial

    Spot where the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed Feb. 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa.
    January 9, 2009

    (AP Photo)


The two-CD Down The Line - Rarities includes gems such as home recordings dating back to when Holly was 14, bootlegged undubbed versions, alternate takes and informal solo tapes, according to Reuters.