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The Music Died 54 Years Ago Yesterday

Yesterday was the 54th anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Booper and Richie Valens. Here is the entire story at Wikipedia. The name of the link is, of course, is from the Don McLean song American Pie, which references the tragedy.

Above is Holly (Charles Hardin Holley) performing Peggy Sue on Arthur Murray’s Dance Party in late 1957. The Big Bopper — Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson, Jr. — performs Chantilly Lace on The Dick Clark Show in 1958. I couldn’t find any video of Valens (Richard Steven Valenzuela), but here is La Bamba which, of course, was the signature song of a career ended far too early. The Des Moines Register offered some thoughts on the influence of the three in 2009.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.