On the morning of 3 February 1959, America woke up to the dreadful news that three of its most beloved performers, Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, along with the pilot, Roger Peterson, had perished in a plane crash.
Two of these musicians, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens “won” their seats and were never meant to be on that plane. The musicians who gave up their seats, Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings (Buddy Holly’s “Crickets”), had very lucky escapes. With Venus opposite Pluto in the chart of the crash, the victims of the crash notably left behind loved ones: Peterson was newly married, Valens, the youngest victim, had a sweetheart named Donna and The Big Bopper left behind his pregnant wife and young child. Holly also left behind a pregnant wife who subsequently miscarried due to the shock of hearing of his death via a radio announcement. And yet, out of this terrible tragedy, a young newspaper delivery boy, Don McLean, would immortalize “The Day the Music Died” in his classic song, “American Pie.”
As we all know “fate” played a cruel hand that night: the careers of three beloved musicians and a pilot came to a tragic end. Was it all meant to be? We’re all left throwing our hands up and asking “what if?” You might think “if only the pilot was more experienced” or “if only it wasn’t snowing that night” or “if only the coin landed tails-side up” then we’d still have Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens around. The problem with fate is that trying to understand how it works is like trying to catch a little fish with your bare hands. You stalk it for hours, think you catch it unawares and then just as you go for the kill, it swims away so quickly that you are left in no doubt that it knew you were there all along. Astrology offers a much better solution.
What can you say when the plane crash has Mars conjunct the malevolent third eye of Medusa’s severed head? It’s fair to say that this conjunction happens every couple of years but this event, this plane crash that has embedded itself deeply into the American psyche, is not just any random event. Add to it that the coroner had stated that the cause of all four deaths was “gross trauma to the brain” and there’s a story. With his Sun at 1 degree Sagittarius, Allsup had a close-but-no-cigar opposition. Jennings also had a near opposition with his Mercury at 2 degrees Sagittarius. One of the singers who would replace the ones killed in the crash, Bobby Vee, also had a near miss with his Mercury at 0 degrees Gemini. However, Valens had Uranus conjunct Algol within one degree and the pilot, Roger Peterson, had Mars in opposition which deepens the significance. Neither Holly nor The Big Bopper had Algol contacts but perhaps just being in the plane flown by Peterson and in attendance with Valens were enough! DiMucci had no Algol contacts but his role in the tragedy is somewhat unclear.
When “American Pie” was recorded byMcLeanon 26 May 1971, Saturn was also conjunct the Mars/Algol of the plane crash, perhaps signifying the permanent memory of the tragedy through the song.
Though it is disputed, Dion DiMucci insists he was offered a seat on that plane. His version of the event is that Holly booked plane tickets for the headliners of the tour. Or, in other words, for himself and Buddy.
However, when he found out the plane tickets cost $36, DiMucci turned down the offer because he had grown up listening to his parents squabbling over their rent which came to exactly $36-he felt it was an indulgence he could not afford. Natally, DiMucci had Moon conjunct Saturn so issues of wealth (or lack of it) may well have saved his life. The Big Bopper had “won” DiMucci’s seat in a coin toss.
In the days leading up to the plane crash, the musicians had been traveling on a “Winter Dance Party” tour which had begun on 23 January and was scheduled to end on 15 February 1959. The idea was that the assembled musicians would play a concert every night in a different city. Although it may sound exciting on paper, the musicians quickly understood the realities surrounding such a tour were very different: The tour was grueling. For starters, they would travel between venues on an old bus that criss-crossed the mid-West in a completely haphazard fashion. It was only after the tour was booked that the musicians realized that the sheer distance between venues meant they would be spending a lot of time on that bus. With the temperature reaching -32 degrees centigrade, the musicians also realized that their bus was very ill-equipped for its purpose-it had broken down several times leaving them with nothing to do in the middle of nowhere, often in the middle of the night, in deep snow. Then the bus heater completely broke down. It was so cold on that bus that by the second week of the tour, Carl Bunch, the drummer of the tour, had to be hospitalized for severe frost bite to his feet. (In his absence, Holly, Valens and DiMucci took turns drumming.) Several of the tour members had also developed raging colds, including The Big Bopper and Valens. Who can blame anyone who is ill for trading their freezing seats on a dilapidated bus for a 380 mile (610 km) journey for a much shorter journey on a warm plane with the added benefit of a night in a hotel?
With various accounts and the added problem of history playing tricks on the human mind, it is difficult to ascertain who flipped coins. Having looked at all the conflicting version of events, the author is going on the notion that there were two coin tosses: one between The Big Bopper and Waylon Jennings and the other between Tommy Allsup and Ritchie Valens.
With his descendant in Pisces, Jennings may have been a soft touch for the suffering. With or without a coin toss, he took pity on The Big Bopper and lost his seat on the plane. The Big Bopper, with his Moon/Venus conjunction trine Mars and his Jupiter-Pluto conjunction as the apex of a T-Square between his Sun and Uranus was a big personality. We may even surmise that he tended to act compulsively and liked to take risks.
Interestingly, the MC of the plane crash opposes The Big Bopper’s MC, some how linking the “life direction” of the two events. It doesn’t mean much until one considers that The Big Bopper’s unborn son grew up to be a man who became curious about rumours surrounding his father’s death. The Big Bopper’s body had been recovered some distance away from the crash site. As Holly’s gun had also been found near the crash site, could it be possible The Big Bopper was shot first and then staggered out of the crash only to freeze to death in the snow?
To answer the question, The Big Bopper’s body was exhumed in 2007 just as a Neptune-Mercury conjunction passed over the Chiron of the crash chart and The Big Bopper’s MC and transit Chiron was also passing over the Sun of the crash chart. It was a time for the “ultimate” question to be answered: was this a mundane plane crash or a murder mystery rather? The little Big Bopper was disappointed to learn his father died of injuries consistent with a high speed plane crash. Even so, there can’t be too many people who meet their fathers for the first time nearly fifty years after they have died.