Musician Buddy Holly, 22, was one of four people -- including two other promising young singers -- killed in a February 3, 1959, plane crash a few miles from Mason City Municipal Airport, near Clear Lake, Iowa. The tragedy became known as "The Day the Music Died," after a lyric from Don McLean's 1971 hit "American Pie."
Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson all died in the crash, which was blamed on poor weather and possible pilot error. It was snowing that night, with high winds and poor visibility.
Singer Valens was just starting to make it big with "La Bamba" when his life was cut short at age 17. He was later immortalized in a 1987 movie.
Richardson was sick the night he took Waylon Jennings' seat on the plane. Known by his stage name, "The "Big Bopper," he had a hit the previous year with "Chantilly Lace."
Jennings was playing bass in Holly's band in 1959 and went on to become a country music legend. He was reportedly haunted by guilt over giving away his seat. Jennings died in 2002.
Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts was the only one of the Winter Dance Party tour's four headliners not on the plane that night. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and is still performing.