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Buddy Holly's Last Concert

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Buddy Holly's Last Concert

Buddy Holly's Last Concert

Buddy Holly's Last Concert

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/100211928/100218151" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Buddy Holly played his last concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959. General Artists Corporation/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption General Artists Corporation/Getty Images

Buddy Holly played his last concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959.

General Artists Corporation/Getty Images

It was 33 years ago today a light plane crashed near the Iowa-Minnesota border, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper. They had just finished playing the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. This week the Surf is hosting a four-day tribute to Buddy Holly. Robin Finesmith of the member station WUSI talked with some of those who remember Holly's last concert.

In 1959 Glen Sharred was a high school junior in Newton, Iowa, and a big fan of Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. When one of Sharred's classmates heard about the show in Clear Lake, they decided they had to go. The boys borrowed a '57 Oldmobile four-door from one of their mothers. It was a school night and a storm was coming, so the 17-year-olds were forbidden to take the car out of town, but they made the three-hour drive north anyway.

When Glen and his friends arrived at the winter dance party, the stage was surrounded by teen-agers.

"Those guys that were singing up there on that stage weren't much older than us, you see," Sarred says. "That was the great thing about it. You know, somebody in your own age group performing something like that and known worldwide, you know, and getting better. So it was kind of neat."

Click the "Listen Now" link above to hear more about Buddy Holly's last concert.

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