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Song Parodies -> "Yester-Day, The Music Died (Buddy Holly 2011 Tribute)"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

The Beatles

Parody Song Title:

"Yester-Day, The Music Died (Buddy Holly 2011 Tribute)"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

You can have Feb. 2 and Groundhog Day. For us Boomers who grew up as Rock grew up, this writer thinks that February 3 should be a holiday. ... Buddy Holly-day? (punny line for a sad story).

For those not familiar with the day's events, the details, the personalities, the songs, and also, the inspiration for Don McLean's "American Pie", they're all in this writer's previous annual tributes (missed 2008):

2006: "Say A Prayer For Buddy Holly"
2007: "Say A Prayer For Buddy Holly (2007)"
2009: "Music All Died (Buddy Holly 50th Anniversary Tribute)"
2010: "Say Good-Bye, Holly? Ow! (Buddy Holly 'Music Died' 2010 Tribute)"

The most detailed history is in the 2007 version. The strange twists of Fate (including a coin toss) that decided who did and didn't get on the fatal flight are in the 2009 version. The 2010 version is the one with the most complete discography of Buddy Holly (cleverly aligned in a nearly-straight column versus the usual center-alignment of lines, slipped through while the admin was busy elsewhere ;).

Sit here, cry'n'
Over Feb the Third of 'Fifty-Nine
Shoulda' took the bus and not gone fly'n
Though I so grieve,
Their fame: enshrine

Airplane crashed, and gone were young stars, three:
Buddy Holly, Bopper, Richie V.
For Rock 'n Roll
A tragedy

Next ... gig ... had to go
Bus: cold; slow
So took to sky
Some- .. .-thing ... went all wrong:
Their swan song
Why must they die - ie - ie - ie?

Date, portray:
Don McLean paid homage, his own way
Wrote a classic that's still played today
"Amer'can Pie"
Sad tale, convey

Coun- ... -try, ... Rhythm/Blues   [1]
Holly: fuse
New style, incite
Meld- ... -ing ... Black and White
'Spite blight: fright:
Excite! Plight: ri- -i- -i- -ight!

What foul play!
Why would God, such good men, take away?
Thus McLean was driven: trust, betray   [2]
No more, believe
Faith: tester-day

He ceased to pray when saw Fate prey

"Rhythm and Blues", sometimes shortened to just "R&B", was coined in the 1940s as a euphemism to replace the former term for music by and for African-Americans, "race music". The famous Billboard Chart actually had a category called "race music" until 1958, when it was replaced by "Rhythm and Blues".

Holly, along with Elvis Presley, combined Hillbilly and Country styles with the rocking jazz and hard, insistent beat of R&B to create what would become Rock and Roll. He also increased the acceptability of Black music and musicians among White audiences and radio stations ("crossover"); it was said that some listeners couldn't tell whether Holly's band, the Crickets, were white or black. (Who cares? They were *good*, that's all.)

Holly also played gigs occasionally with (Soul artists) Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Overall, helping to bridge the racial divide in music, much of it caused by fear ("blight: fright"), and, in this writer's oh-so-humble opinion, eventually among the races themselves. What a legacy.

Going with a pretty common interpretation of the last verse of "American Pie":
"I went down to the sacred store (the Church) where I 'd heard the music years before (his childhood love of music and faith in God)
"But the man there said the music wouldn't play" -- Implying loss of faith from the loss of these seminal musicians, an implication reinforced by the final lines of the stanza:
"And the three men I admire most: The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost,
"They caught the last train for the coast / The day the music died"

I. e., McLean saw his faith leave, feeling that his God had left him -- the age-old philosophical and theological question of why a just, loving, and merciful God would let terrible things happen to good people.

Nope, TT has no answer to that one either, only this tribute, and the previous and future ones. with the intention that this day and these young men will not be forgotten for so long as both the site and the turtle are around. Thank you for reading and joining in remembrance.

Appropriate OS, as the Beatles were big fans of Holly's, covered some of his songs, and emulated elements of his style. (And named their band after his "bugs" - true. ;)

"American Pie" and "The day the music died" © 1971 Don McLean. All else © 2011 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Pacing: 4.7
How Funny: 4.4
Overall Rating: 4.7

Total Votes: 13

Voting Breakdown

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    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
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 3   0
 4   0
 5   12

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Fiddlegirl - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Another nice metaphorical "lighting of the candle"... So many great talents killed in plane crashes-- These three, Patsy Cline, Jim Croce, John Denver, etc. Sad. :( 555.
Mark Scotti - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
"Oh Boy"! "That'll Be The Day" you don't honor this rock icon, who well deserves it!! "Rave On" your votes of fives...
Patrick - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
The story I heard was that the pilot was unfamiliar with the artificial horizon, which is a bit counterintuitive to the uninitiated. The line is the horizion, it goes up as the plane noses down and vice-versa. I'm too young to remember Buddy Holly and the others, save from oldies radio. His songs had an innocence and optimism I haven't heard much of in the music that followed his death. A whole world view or sense of life went down with that plane.
TJC - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Your uplifting tribute took flight and was the wind beneath our wings...

Very interesting rhyming choices: Would never have come up with cry'n/nine/fly'n/'shrine! I liked the way flight/plummet kind of combine into your other rhyme 'plight' too. Of course, I can't forget Holly-day!

And FG: At least Leslie Nielson's career was actually 'saved' by an 'Airplane!'
John Barry - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Nice triumvirate tribute.
FAA (Federal Aviation AdministraTTion - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick, as a licensed pilot, I can tell you that the artificial horizon display is essentially the same in the smallest private plane as in the largest jumbo jetliners. The latter have more electronic heads-up screen info, but the horizon display itself is identical -- and is one of the first things covered in primary flight training, well before the student ever makes the first solo flight (without an instructor on board).

Also, I believe the weather was clear and found not to be a a factor, despite some legends of a snowstorm. (It had cleared out, and it was *too cold to snow*). So looking out the windshield would have been fine. But regardless, no way a licensed pilot can't read the horizon gyro.
Old Man Ribber - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
TT - Deck us on with songs of Holly! FG - Ricky Nelson too. Keep the flame alive and the tribute parodies coming. ;D
Andy Primus - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Nice tribute and well written - especially liked the test of faith line.
Patrick - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
This story was told to me by a fellow record collector. He wasn't there either. Without a survivor, I can imagine it would be tough to determine a cause. What sort of plane was involved? A lot more than just music died back then.
Patrick, There's A Bonaza Of Info In The Linked Tributes - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
If you don't have time to read all, 2009 has the plane type. 2007 has comments from Susanna Viljanen about the problems with that type of aircraft, reply by the author that he'd flown a similar one, and a URL of the FAA report of the incident, but that link no longer points there. (You have to take out the *, which was put in to avoid tripping spam filters.) Probably because the report is now ancient history.

According to this article,
, weather *was* a factor, and the pilot had not completed the training for his license to fly in instruments-only conditions. There *is* mention of a different type of attitude-indicator -- that's new info to the author. Nonetheless, it's a violation of Fed Av. Regs to fly in weather for which not licensed, (ask the ghost of John F. Kennedy Jr. about what happens), and had the pilot lived, probably manslaughter.

There's mention of inadequate warning of the weather, presumably during his preflight briefing by the FAA. However, the wreckage was only five miles from the take-off point, so surely he would have seen it himself and either not taken off, or, seeing bad weather ahead, done what John-John should have done -- a 180 back to the airport.

The description of the witness and of the wreckage tend to indicate too much of a nose-high attitude relative to the flight path ("angle of attack"), leading to a condition known as a "stall", which has nothing to do with the engine quitting. It means that the wing angle is so steep that air no longer flows smoothly over it (picture a water skier leaning waaay back, so the ski is too steep to the water). The craft will fall, and the nose will drop, because all airplanes are made slightly nose-heavy, precisely to help avoid this condition. In fact, the rear wing of an airplane ("horizontal stabilizer") isn't there to hold the tail of the plane up. It's there to hold the tail *down*. Hinged, movable portions ("elevators") allow the pilot to control attitude with the stick or wheel.

To be continue -- got a "Message too long" error. (Who, me?)
Flight Lessons, Part II - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Oddly enough, the cure for a stall is to lower the nose even more, thus reducing the "angle of attack" *relative to the airflow over the wings", which restores normal lift. Then you can gradually pull back up to regain lost altitude.

This motion is exactly counter-intuitive, as an untrained or panicked pilot's instinct is to pull back on the wheel or stick, trying to climb. (You don't climb by pointing the nose up. You climb by adding throttle, and descend by reducing throttle, keeping a fairly level attitude -- which involves adjusting the pitch accordingly. Speed is controlled by the elevators - more pitch for less speed; less pitch for more speed.

If the stall is not corrected promptly, the plane will begin to spin (complicated explanation of why, but will provide on request). The story at WP confirms this: The witness saw the tail of the plane dropping (= pilot pushing plane's nose too high); the wreckage shows the plane "was at a slight downward angle and banked to the right when it struck the ground". = Nose too high = stall = nose falls and plane spins = crashes nose-down and rolled (banked) to one side.

Even primary student pilots, training for a Visual-Flight-Rules (VFR)-only license, are required to take minimal instrument flight training for emergencies. The author wore a hood to prevent seeing outside the plane, only able to see the instrument panel. Instructor (and flight license tester) put the plane into crazy attitudes, and the student must recover promptly and successfully, by reference to instruments only - even for the VFR license.

Although it wasn't required, the author did deliberate *spins* of this type, practicing the recovery, then did them "under the hood' -- by instruments only. Closes eyes, instructor puts plane into stall-spin, open eyes to panel only, recover.

Easier than it sounds. The slip/skid indicator has a little ball in it that moves from center whenever the tail of the aircraft isn't properly following the nose, direction-wise ("coordinated turn" - using just enough rudder for the amount of wing banking. The plane turns, not with the rudder, but by banking; the rudder makes sure that the tail follows the turn. More aerodynamic explanation if requested, but there's an "adverse yaw" effect to any bank.)

So, upon opening eyes, note that the ball is, say, to left of center. Push left rudder pedal until it's centered. (Easy to remember - push the rudder pedal on the same side as the ball.) This stops the spin, assuming that you've also leveled the ailerons (wing-banking controls, left/right on stick or rudder). Then, observing that airspeed *as indicated by airflow over the wings" is too low (in the red zone; it's actually colored yellow and red), push the wheel forward (counter-intuitive when you're already pointing at the ground; hence; needs to be practiced until automatic) to end the stall, and watch the airspeed return to normal. Then, as mentioned, start regaining lost altitude.

The horizon indicator would tell the pilot of the dangerous attitude of the craft, but the other instruments are more critical: Airspeed indicator for stall, altimeter dropping rapidly; slip/skid ball not centered. Those alone are enough to diagnose and correct.

Still, if the horizon gyro was unfamiliar to the pilot, he should have practiced with it in ideal weather first. Usually, you can't rent a plane until you've been given a thorough check-ride in it, which includes recovery from improper flight attitudes.

Thanks for the add'l info. There has been so much going around about this over the years, and your info pretty much exonerates the type of plane, despite Susanna's (true) statements about a larger-that-average number of crashes in it.
Flying By The Seat Of One's PanTTs - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
First, all aircraft, smallest to 747, have *loud* warnings that go off if the airplane approaches the "stall" condition: In airliners, the wheel actually shakes in the pilot's hands. This pilot should have heard that, and pushed the stick forward (nose down), regardless of all else.

Flying by the seat of one's pants; In a coordinated turn-- ever been on an airline flight? If the plane banked, say, to the left for a left turn, did you feel yourself being pulled to the left in your seat, by gravity? No, because the centrifugal force of the turn exactly countered gravity's "sideways" pull on you.

If the ailerons and rudder aren't properly coordinated, the slip-skid ball, which is nothing more than a ball in a slightly-curved tube, like a saucer or Petri dish, opening upward -- will move from center, *and so will your body* -- or it will feel like it's being pulled/pushed to the side in your seat. So "seat of the pants" is a literal expression, and can be used to make coordinated turns.

The difficult thing for the inexperienced or panicked pilot to do in bad weather is to *ignore* what your inner ear and eyes are telling you. Both are easily fooled, and very quickly. Flying into a whiteout can induce vertigo and imaginary sensations. Cure: *DON'T LOOK*. Stick to the instrument panel, and, if you can, to the feeling in the seat of your pants. This rigid discipline comes only with practice.

Beginning-beginning pilots are taught never to *stare* at anything. Not out the windshield, even in perfect weather, and not at any one instrument. Rather, a continuous "scan" of all six critical flight instruments [1], and, *if the visibility is adequate*, out the window, mostly to watch for other traffic. (If the visibility is too poor for that, you're in instrument-flight conditions, and in touch with Air Traffic Control, whose job is to keep traffic separated.) Intersperse watching the engine temperature and oil pressure gauges, tachometer, and, of course, the fuel gauges. ;)

[1] Airspeed indicator, altimeter, artificial horizon indicator, turn-and-slip (and -skid) indicator (often, but inaccurately, called a "turn-and-bank" indicator -- it calculates rate of turn in degrees per minute from gyroscopic measurements, but the degree of bank is determined by the pilot from the artificial horizon, not this), directional gyroscope (what compass course you're on, because the Earth's magnetic field varies considerably from place to place, so the reading from the required magnetic compass must be adjusted for location), and vertical-speed indicator (rate of climb or descent), although scanning the readings of the altimeter is much more accurate. Allowed tolerance for VFR private pilot's license: Do 360-degree turns in each direction, on instruments only, without gaining or losing more than 100' (about 30m) of altitude. (Just a 180 would have saved Rock and Roll and JFK Jr.) The latter instrument isn't quick enough or accurate enough for that.

Bottom line: This tragedy was totally avoidable. No evidence of mechanical failure, only of pilot error. Sad.
Tommy Turtle TThanking Everyone, Back Later - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Got caught up in penning the above article ;), need food; individual thanks and replies to come a bit later. Thanks!
Christie Marie M - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Seems like "yesterday" that Buddy Holly's voice would touch our hearts...and yet they still do! Great portrayal and touching tribute to this rock and roll legend! 555.
Tommy Turtle - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Fiddlegirl: Indeed, and as the exahustive analysis below discovers, this one was totally avoidable. Thanks for v/c (candle :).

Mark Scotti:
We-eh-eh-ell, the way you vote and comment too
Make me want to say, "Thank You" !!!

Patrick: Agree completely about the better world view in music bacl then (other than the wave of dead-teen songs inspired by James Dean's car crash - "Teen Angel", "Endless Sleep", "Patches", "Leader Of The Pack", "Where, Oh, Where Can My Baybe Be", and, of course, "Tell Laura I Love Her"), versus the beeyotch-ho-MF themes of rap, etc. today. Keep it on the oldies stations, or start checking out Holly songs on YouTube -- it's free. Thanks for the v/c, friend.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of mirth And danced the AIR on greenish-flippered things...

          (look it up; it was quoted recently during the tributes to the 25th anniversary of the crash of Space Shuttle Challenger) .. and getting off of death for a brief moment, LOL @ FG! Thnaks for the comment and the Nielsen ratings! :-D

John Barry: Scribi, vidi, grati.

Old Man Ribber: Will do, gladly. Thanks for v/c.

Andy Primus: The author's fave line as well -- thanks for v/c.

Christie Marie M: Indeed, indeed. Thanks for v/c!
TT @ FG - February 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Looks like TT made the same error as Holly's pilot -- got "below" and "above" confused. (Turtoc... ;)
Susanna Viljanen - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
Why, oh why, didn't Heinz make also a song "Just Like Buddy" as he made "Just Like Eddie" for Eddie Cochran? Interestingly, here in Europe Eddie Cochran is better remembered than Buddy Holly - both were great artists. 555.
Susanna Viljanen - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
You might like this song. The performer is a Finnish rockabilly trio Teddy and the Tigers.
Susanna Viljanen - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
Seems the comments do not accept hyperlinks. Anyway the song is named "Tribute to Buddy Holly"
Patrick - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
I work for an antiquities dealer. We've occasionally gotten old bank and turn indicators and gyros out of airplanes. These are very simple mechanical devices that will work even while sitting on my desk. No need to even be in a plane. I've only flown in an airplane a couple of times, small craft such as Beechcraft Bonanza, Cessna, and once in a Ford Trimotor. Your explanations for the Iowa crash, JFK Jr, and, I suspect, John Denver are quite convincing. It's the same concept as trying to drive in snow and ice. A lot of times the correct thing to do is the opposite of what your instincts will compel. Fortunately a 1986 Chrysler has some thick bumpers.
Dave W. - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
How sad..... but these talented troubadours untimely deaths would make them immortal.......Yester-day the music died......again something touched me deep inside......I bow to you sir
Tommy Turtle - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
Susanna Viljanen: Because they were too busy making ketchup?     (Heinz is a large condiment-manufacturer in the US -- no condom jokes. please -- and TT DK "Heinz" as a band or singer or writer or whatever.
          No, hyperlinks won't work in the comments, to keep out spammers, pawrnlinks, etc. Actually, no HTML at all, per the message right under what I'm typing:
"No links or other code allowed."

Actually, we used to have to sanitize even raw URLs, as in h**p://, to avoid tripping filters, but everyone here watches closely for spammers and reports it immediately, so it's not a problem. But a coded hyperlink can obscure the actual destination, and innocent people might get taken to an evil site.... I don't want to give an example, unless you want to PM or e-mail me; don't want to give bad people bad ideas. But I think you get the idea.

However, our gracious host has kindly permitted the use of the line-break tag, which makes longer comments (coughmoicough) much more readable vs. the "wall of text" look. Will check out that video over the weekend, I hope. Thanks       for       the       vote       and       comment.

Patrick: Yep, once explained in plane (HEH!) English (oh, TT! ;--D ) "it's not rocket science". And what may be correct in a car is wrong in a plane -- different physics involved in traveling *through* a fluid (air) vs. "on" a solid surface. But the analogy to skid recovery, getting out of being stuck in a snow bank, etc. is a good one.
          Car skids are a perfect example -- you're trying to turn left; car is skidding to the right. Instinct is to yank harder to the left; correct technique is to turn the wheel to the right, until the Chrysler rear bumper is again following the front of the car. Good insight, and will try to take a look @ Denver crash report some time -- don't remember details offhand.

Dave W.: (desperately trying to avoid plugging TT's APie parodies ;) Thank you for the very kind words, and nice homage to McLean's homage.

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