Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sometimes I Scare Myself

Insomnia has it's benefits (I'm too tired to name any, but I'm sure they exist), but sometimes my sleep-deprived brain comes up with some pretty bizarre ideas. For example:

If I Were a Famous Musician, I'd Stick With A Tour Bus

February 3, 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly (see photo at left). There have been celebrity air fatalities going all the way back to Icarus but it seems that musicians have especially bad luck when it comes to air travel. Off the top of my head I can name Glenn Miller, Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Jim Croce, most of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rick Nelson, Kyu Sakamoto (Japanese singer famous for his 1963 hit Sukiyaki), John Denver, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Aaliyah

This is an impressive list spanning a wide range of musical genres but "The Day The Music Died" as Don McLean so poetically put it, is the Trifecta of plane related musician deaths, claiming the lives of not one, but three famous performers. The crash has been immortalized in song (American Pie, Three Stars), film (The Buddy Holly Story and LaBamba) and on the stage (Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story appeared on both Broadway and the West End). The Big Bopper will get his due in the forthcoming film "The Day The Music Died" which according to the website ( is based on "the second hand memories" of his son and tells his "untold story". The movie is scheduled to open on February 3, 2009, but the website doesn't appear to have been updated in a while.

Whenever I fly, an evil miniature version of myself appears on my shoulder and starts whispering "LaBamba" in my ear. He usually shuts up after a few seconds which is just long enough to remind me of my own mortality. I suppose it could be worse - he could sing Holly's "That'll Be The Day."

I'll close with a clip of Buddy Holly performing Peggy Sue (tragically there is not a lot of footage of Buddy performing live - this performance is from his late 50's appearance on the The Arthur Murray Party variety show)


  1. Am I correct that you fancy yourself a famous musician in the likes of Buddy Holly et al since you feel you are going to be the victim of air tragedy? And while I am nitpicking I loved the Isaac Hayes stuff but what about somtimes funnyman/sometimes whiny pain in the non funny ass Bernie Mac? He is dead too you know - - can't a brutha get no respect?

    Who in the hell besides you knows that the guy who sang Sukiyaki died in a plane crash? You are only one of 100 or so people on earth who remembers this song ( a perennial WSBS favorite that in fact resides on my very IPOD.

  2. I also mourn Bernie Mac, and I'm glad you brought him up so I can offer him some Props.

    No, I fancy myself a famous writer who will be the victim of an air tragedy like...ummm well the closet I could come is Will Rogers who among his other talents was a writer. There's also John Kennedy Jr - he was the publisher of George Magazine -does that count?

    Here's another fact about Kyu Sakamoto's air death - he had enough time to write his wife a farewell letter. I find this both terribly romantic and terribly horrific.

  3. And again I am both saddened and frightened that you would know these tidbits. One has to wonder what the content of said letter was. I imagine something along the lines of ...
    " Honey, big plane go boom - -me go into mountains. No Sing Sukiyaki no more. Goodbye cluel wold ! love K"

    Course I could be wrong ...

  4. That is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. Fortunately I am one of the most UN-PC people I know (but not as UN-PC as you apparantly).