The Day the Music Died

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Buddy Holly memorabilia.


The Day the Music Died

In the spring of 2006, Buddy Holly’s widow decided that she was going to put several items of Holly memorabilia into auction.

Buddy Holly was twenty two years old when he died in an air crash.

Also killed in the accident were Ritchie Valens (aged seventeen), The Big Bopper Richardson (aged twenty eight) and pilot Roger Peterson (aged twenty one).

Maria Elena had married Buddy Holly just six months before the accident and miscarried his child on hearing the news.

The courtship of Buddy Holly and Maria Santiago

Maria was a receptionist at a recording studio when they first met. Her aunt had warned her not to go out with any musicians as they were largely nuts. (I can personally testify to this). But when Buddy asked her for a date within minutes of their meeting, she accepted.

She told him that her aunt – who was bringing Maria up after her mother’s death – wouldn’t approve. Nevertheless Buddy went to see the aunt to ask her permission to take Maria on a date and amazingly, she agreed.

On that first date, Buddy asked Maria to marry him and she accepted.

Her aunt had no idea what to say about this. Buddy asked to use her phone to call his mother, who fainted clean away when she heard the news. However, even the musician-hating aunt gave her permission and the couple were married just two weeks later.

The Day the Music Died

Thanks to the Don McLean song American Pie, February 3rd, 1959 has since been known as The Day the Music Died. This was the day of the plane crash. Maria usually accompanied Buddy when he was touring but because she was in the early states of pregnancy, she didn’t go along.

Buddy Holly memorabilia

Although Maria Elena kept many of her late husband’s possessions and donated many to museums, she decided to send several items to auction. She was in her seventies by this time and had since remarried and had children. She said that she wanted to give fans a chance to have genuine items from Buddy’s past.

One of the most valuable pieces was a diamond watch that was pulled from the wrecked aircraft. There were also photographs from his childhood, early records and his passport.

The watch was white gold and had been given to Buddy by Elena. It was engraved on the back. The watch alone sold for $155,350. His passport had been issued the year before when he went on a European tour with The Crickets. The passport, which contained his signature of course, realised $26,290.





Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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1 Comment

  1. It’s hard to imagine Buddy Holly and the others killed were so very young. Amazing that their music and their legend live on and on and on.

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