Buddy Holly and The Day the Music Died

Boston University

William McKeen is the Chair of the Department of Journalism at Boston University, where he also teaches media history, literary journalism, and rock ‘n’ roll history.  He is the author or editor of 13 books, including Everybody Had an OceanToo Old to Die Young and Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.  



In 1959, three young musicians came together for a tour of the upper Midwest. Each night, teenagers turned up at warm, cocoon-like ballrooms to greet the stars who’d made the 400-mile trips between venues on a bus with no heater.

Two weeks into the tour, Buddy Holly got fed up with shivering on the road and hatched a plan to charter a plane to take him from frigid Iowa to even-colder North Dakota. Two other artists – Ritchie Valens and JP “Big Bopper” Richardson – joined him.

When the plane crashed just after takeoff, a generation that felt itself invincible was shaken by these deaths of talents so young, and was left to wonder: If the best and the brightest are susceptible, then aren’t we all? Later immortalized by singer Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died,” this course will look at the life and works of artists who died too soon.




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Doug Schallau

The Day the Music Died

This was just an excellent presentation. William McKeen is one of the best on 1DU. Love everything he does. And no, I’m not related to him. LOL

8 months ago

Being there

I was dancing the lindy to the music of Buddy Holly on American Bandstand. This was a terrific presentation that captured the spirit of the performers and the music that lives on. Thank you.

8 months ago
Wendy Meer

The day the music died

Greatly enjoyed the lecture—interesting, informative and fun historical facts about the music business.

8 months ago
Linda Sainsbury

Buddy Holly: The day the music died

Loved this presentation and really appreciated the Professor’s knowledge and perspective on music and it’s history!

8 months ago
Ann Whaley

.Buddy Holly and The Day The Music Died

Loved learning fun facts by an expert presenter! Thanks, 1DU and Mr. McKeen!

8 months ago
Marguerite Hurd

Loved going back to those days of rock and roll. I remember the day; was a freshman in high school.

7 months ago
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