Category: Music

Presty the DJ for Feb. 3

Today in 1959, a few hours after their concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson got on a Beechcraft Bonanza in Mason City, Iowa, to fly to Fargo, N.D., for a concert in Moorhead, Minn.

The trio, along with Dion and the Belmonts, were part of the Winter Dance Party Tour, a 24-city tour over three weeks, with its ridiculously scheduled tour dates connected by bus.

Said bus, whose heater broke early in the tour, froze in below-zero temperatures two nights earlier between the scheduled concert in the Duluth, Minn., National Guard Armory, and the next scheduled location, the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay.

Holly’s drummer had to be hospitalized with frostbite in his feet, and Valens also became ill. The tour got to Green Bay, but its scheduled concert in Appleton that evening was canceled.

After the concert in Clear Lake, Holly decided to rent an airplane. Holly’s bass player, Waylon Jennings, gave his seat to the Big Bopper because he was sick, and Valens won a coin flip with Holly’s guitarist, Tommy Allsup. Dion DiMucci chose not to take a seat because the $36 cost equaled his parents’ monthly rent.

As he was leaving, Holly told Jennings, “I hope your ol’ bus freezes up,” to which Jennings replied, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes!”

Shortly after the 12:55 a.m. takeoff, the plane crashed, instantly killing Holly, Valens, the Big Bopper and the pilot.

The scheduled concert that evening went on, with organizers recruiting a 15-year-old, Robert Velline, and his band the Shadows. Bobby Vee went on to have a good career. So did a teenager in the audience, Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minn., who became known a few years later as Bob Dylan.


The number one single today in 1968:

The number one single today in 1973:

The number one album today in 1979 was the Blues Brothers’ “Briefcase Full of Blues”:

Birthdays begin with one of Dion’s Belmonts, Angelo D’Aleo:

Dennis Edwards of the Temptations:

Eric Haydock played bass for the Hollies:

Dave Davies of the Kinks:

Two-hit wonder Melanie Safka:

Tony Butler played bass for Big Country:

Lol Tolhurst played keyboards for the Cure:

Who is Richie Kotzen? You know him as Mr. Big, whose career really wasn’t, having one hit:


Presty the DJ for Feb. 2

First, to continue a decades-long tradition: It’s a great day for groundhogs. Unless they see their shadow and predict six more weeks of winter, in which case they should be turned into ground groundhog.

(Back when I had radio ambitions, I came up with the idea of having a live remote from Sun Prairie where Jimmy the Groundhog would see his shadow and predict six more weeks of winter, then return to the station, only to dramatically go back to Sun Prairie to breathlessly report that someone assassinated Jimmy the Groundhog. It would work with Punxsutawney Phil too.)

Today in 1959, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper all appeared at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

That would be their final concert appearance because of what happened after the concert.

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Presty the DJ for Jan. 29

Today in 1942 premiered what now is the second longest running program in the history of radio — the BBC’s “Desert Island Discs”:

What’s the longest running program in the history of radio? The Grand Ole Opry.

Today in 1968, the Doors appeared at the Pussy Cat a Go Go in Las Vegas. After the show, Jim Morrison pretended to light up a marijuana cigarette outside. The resulting fight with a security guard concluded with Morrison’s arrest for vagancy, public drunkenness, and failure to possess identification.

The number one British single today in 1969 was its only British number one:

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Presty the DJ for Jan. 28

Today in 1956, Elvis Presley made his first national TV appearance on, of all places, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s “Stage Show” on CBS.

The number one album on both sides of the Atlantic today in 1978 was Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”:

The number one single today in 1984 was banned by the BBC, which probably helped it stay on the charts for 48 weeks:

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Presty the DJ for Jan. 26

The number one single in Great Britain today in 1961 included a Shakespearean reference:

Eight years later came the live version …

… which included, instead of “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there,” Presley’s impromptu “Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair.” Which prompted a front-row concertgoer to remove his toupee and start swaying to the music.

Then backup singer Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney and aunt of Dionne Warwick, cracked up Presley further with singing what she was supposed to sing. Afterward Presley said, “Fourteen years down the drain right there.”

Five years after Presley’s death, the live version reached Britain’s top 30.

The number one single today in 1965 included Jimmy Page, later of Led Zeppelin, on guitar:

Today in 1970, John Lennon wrote, recorded and mixed a song all in one day, which may have made it an instant song:

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