Sixteen years after “The Day The Music Died” I was in junior high school, just about to rip the lid off the magical days of summer. That was about the time in 1975 my oldest brother began to wear out a Country album along with more than a few needles.
While I was more about Pop and Rock music at the time, being the youngest of four avid music enthusiasts leaves little in the way of taking equal turns spinning your favorite vinyl.
It wouldn’t have been my choice to listen to the outlaw country musician that had clawed his way back up to the top of the charts on his own behalf – and that pushing two decades after “The Day The Music Died”.
I ran a needle over my own copy of the old LP by Waylon Jennings, “Dreaming My Dreams” a while back. It takes me back to the days of, not so much innocence as it was youthful ignorance, what seemed like eternity. That brings the corners of my mouth and soul up at the edges and my foot taps in time.
I don’t recall exactly when I learned the back stories of “The Day The Music Died”, but I ponder it fairly often, along with other seemingly so called “coincidences” in this life.
Most everyone knows by now that Waylon Jennings, who played bass for Buddy Holly, gave up his seat on the fateful flight at the pleading of J.P. Richardson, AKA The Big Bopper, who was fighting a nasty cold.
The trio of stars, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper’s plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3rd, 1959… The Day The Music Died.
Back in 2002 on the other side of the Valley Of The Sun, where I call home, the radio announced that Waylon Jennings had passed away… he was sixty-four years old. It had been forty-three years since he’d done that favor for the Big Bopper that spared him his life.
When you’re twenty-one years old like Waylon was at the time, a lifetime seems like an eternity. It doesn’t take too many decades after that to realize that’s a grave and youthful miscalculation.
The Good Book has plenty of verses that share the wisdom of how quickly this physical life gets behind us. One of my favorite ones regarding the subject is from Psalm; “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”
In the grand scheme of human history and especially eternity, the amount of sunrises and sundowns between our passing from this life is insignificant. In the end it’s not about the songs or books we write, it’s the acknowledgment of the One who gives us the days here as well as the breath and free will.
The family members of Waylon Jennings and Buddy Holly testify that, based on their faith, those two will be united once again in the heavenly realms.
Maybe the music didn’t really die on February 3rd 1959… Maybe the band went to the greatest gig ever… and one member arrived a few beats or breaths into the second set…