February 3rd - remembering "Buddy"

Feb 03, 2010

By Gene Stevens

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Hi friend – so we’ve made it thru January – it was pretty easy this year.  I almost (almost) miss the snow – but that’s OK – really. Although I do feel sorry for the Winter Olympic planners in BC without enough snow there.  So we move into Febuary – thanks Groundhogs for nothin – 6 more weeks of winter, I suppose. 

But today is February 3rd – and for music fans – it’s a big day. Don McLean called it ‘the day the music died’ – I never bought into that, although ‘American Pie’ is one of my all-time faves.  But the deaths of Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens on February 3rd, 1959, was the first really big R&R tragedy.  Imagine losing one of today’s top pop stars, an exciting up and coming kid, and a master of novelty-pop … in a plane crash, while they were on tour ?  There have been so many such tragedies and much worse, it’s probably hard to imagine that today – but for those teens in the innocent 50s – it must’ve been a huge blow.

You can look up the details of  what happened that snowy stormy night in Iowa, when the 3 touring stars thought they’d rather fly than take another long, cold bus-ride to the next show. It was a tiny plane, with only room for 3 plus pilot.  Legend has it, Big Bopper won the coin toss with young guitarist Waylon Jennings, and took his spot on the plane. Waylon went on to become a country superstar. Buddy, Ritchie and Jaye P. Richardson (Big Bopper) became “Three Stars” in the constellation of youthful dead celebs.

That’s the story most folks know – but on this day, let me tell you of  a personal story related – loosely.  It was on this day, February 3rd, in 1977  – when I was in St.Catharines working at CKTB (in the big old white house by the bridge)…almost 5pm., and folks were leaving – someone told me there was a puppy in a box left by our front door.  Nobody would or could take it…so I did.  Called him “Buddy” – for Buddy Holly, of course.  Although the little pup snuck out under our backyard fence one day a few months later, ran into the street, and died – we rescued a shelter dog and named him ‘Buddy” too; years later I’d get yet another dog, called him – you guessed it -‘Buddy’.  It’s a great name. 

Anyway – here’s the kicker – my dogs are gone, and so are my daughters now, on their own – and today (February 3rd) was the day one of my girls took home a kitten from the Humane Society. I bet she never even realized it was February 3rd.  No, I don’t suppose she’ll call him ‘Buddy’. 

So let me put in a good word for cat and dog adoptions from Humane Societies everywhere – if you have room in your world for a pet – do it.

As for radio stuff – well, February is “Black History Month” – and I’d like you to tune into my Sunday afternoon show this weekend (Feb.7), from 2-4pm.  I’ll be spotlighting the most important black artists of the ‘vintage era’ – from Scott Joplin and WC Handy, thru Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Nat Cole, to Louis Jordan, Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke.  Whew – it’ll be a hot show – please tune in.   Catch you later.

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