Don McLean reflects on 60th anniversary of Buddy Holly's death

Music 01/02/2019

Exactly 60 years ago this weekend, a chartered aircraft crashed in Mason City, Iowa just minutes after takeoff, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P 'The Big Bopper' Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson. 

The day was coined "The Day the Music Died" by iconic singer and songwriter Don McLean in his hit song 'American Pie'. And McLean has not forgotten the day that inspired his magnum opus as the 60th anniversary approaches.

"Buddy Holly was only 22 years old when he died on February 3, 1959. By that time he had recorded something like 60 songs and every one of them was a hit, and most were hit records. Even the Beatles can not compare to the magnitude of this contribution. The music he made, he invented himself, with very little help from others," McLean said.

'American Pie' was released in 1971, spending four weeks at number one in 1972. 30 years later, the Recording Industry of America named it the fifth greatest song of the 20th century. 

McLean re-released the song in 2016 in celebration of the 45th anniversary. One of four handwritten copies of the lyrics to the song was also auctioned with the bidding starting at $100,000 in 2017.