On this day in 1959, Rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff on a flight from Mason City to Moorehead, Minnesota. Holly had chartered the plane for his band to fly between tour dates during the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had a cold, talked Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings out of his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane. Holly had just scored a No. 1 hit, “That’ll Be the Day,” with his band, the Crickets.
(With thanks to History.com)