The Day The Music Died

Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake Iowa. Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson

The Day The Music Died is a phrase we all know. Although, perhaps the younger generation do not really know the story. And now there is a new aspects to the story, too.


Legendary Rock n Roll artists: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP, the Big Bopper, Richardson are world famous. And this is not just because of how they died. People all over the world who love Rock n Roll, or just love great music, love their music to this day.


The enjoyment these musicians gave their fans, and the world, continues. Their music is enjoyed through their recordings but also many of their fans continue to attend performances of their music, 60 years later. These tribute performances are provided by many musicians in venues across the world. Arguably, the most celebrated of these is the Winter Dance Party, held at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, USA.

The Surf Ballroom is the venue where the three rock and rollers played their final gigs, just before taking the fateful flight to their next show. Tragically, after only a few minutes, the plane crashed and they and their young pilot were all killed.

“V” tailed Beechcraft plane

The Day The Music Died

The story of how they died is well known. Somewhat less well known is the terrible back-story of injury and agony and hospitalisation, that was the prelude and cause of those fabled tragic events. And almost 60 years later there is another narrative being woven into the legend that is: The Day The Music Died. The new story may seem highly improbable and bizarre and it does feature a most unlikely hero, on a quest of honour. So, there are now three layers to the legend, the back-story, the tragic deaths of three great young stars, and a new campaign to right a long-standing wrong.

Documentary – The Bopper & Me

I have been shooting a documentary about this fabulous story. The Bopper & Me is being produced by Glasshouse Media and is being directed by David Taylor. It promises to be a fascinating and very emotional film. It will tell the entire story of the day the music died. And hopefully, it will help to make right, a decades-old wrong that continues to this day.

The Winter Dance Party

In addition to shooting key interviews, general views, GVs, and other B roll footage for the documentary, I also shot on the hallowed stage. This was particularly special as several brilliant Rock n Roll musicians were playing the most amazing set I have ever been privileged to see and hear. Performing were Austin Allsup and Albert Lee & Friends. There was a packed house in the Surf Ballroom that night, as there was every night of the Winter Dance party 2018. For a music loving and emotional cameraman, it does not get better than that.

Oh, and it was very, very cold, minus un-holy numbers of degrees, day and night. Apparently, It was America’s coldest place. Yes, even colder than Alaska.

The Bopper & Me, the ultimate Rock n Roll movie, is in production.


In between film shoots and managing equipment, I shot photographs behind the scenes (BTS). These are very helpful for social media publicity. I also wrote daily LinkedIn pieces. It was a full-on challenge and very intense. However, it was one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever undertaken. And what a wonderful and quirky story we are telling.


There will be more to shoot, and exciting news to come. So watch this space and I will keep you posted.

It was such a fun and productive shoot. A great team revealing and telling a fantastic story for an international and passionate audience. We expect the film to be released for the 60th anniversary of The Day The Music Died. So, watch this space and put the 3rd of February 2019 in your diary.