February 3, 1959. Rock star Buddy Holly and his band were having problems with their tour bus. It was winter, the stops on their tour had them in some of the coldest states in the U.S., and the bus kept breaking down and freezing up. Wanting to get to Fargo, North Dakota for their next performance and with the bus broken down once again, Holly chartered a plane, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza that seated six.
The Winter Dance Tour consisted of Holly, Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch. The tour also included singer Frankie Sardo along with new talent, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper J.P. Richardson, and the group Dion and the Belmonts. Since the plane only carried six, everyone wasn’t able to make the trip. “Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.”1 The rest would travel in the bus once it was repaired.
The plane was not overloaded. The pilot, Roger Peterson, along with Holly, Valens, and Richardson loaded the plane and took off from Mason City Municipal Airport in Iowa at 12:55 a.m. CST. At approximately 1:00 a.m., the plane went down at a high rate of speed, crashing into a cornfield just six miles from the airport. All passengers were dead on impact, three of which were ejected from the plane.
The official investigation revealed that the pilot was not certified to fly in these kinds of conditions which would require his IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) rating. The airport also did not have these credentials, therefore, flights could only be carried out when the pilots could see clearly where they were going. A night flight along with the snowy conditions should have grounded this and all other flights. It didn’t. And, if that’s not enough, the pilot had recently failed his IFR test. A final issue was that the weather briefing given to the pilot was inadequate. It did not take into account the snow and limited visibility.
When the Civil Aeronautics Board released its findings, they determined the cause was “the pilot’s unwise decision” to attempt a flight that required skills he did not have.”2
Eventually, this day came to be known as “The Day The Music Died.”
I don’t write this devotional in support of rock music nor in support of the rock stars. My thoughts just gravitated to the phrase “The Day The Music Died.” How incredibly sad that the world sees it that way!
Chronologically, the first time singing ever takes place in the universe is recorded in Job 38:4-7. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. (5) Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? (6) Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; (7) When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
The next-to-last time Scripture records anything about music is in Revelation 15:1-3. “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. (2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (3) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”
The final mention of music is when the world’s music is silenced for good. Revelation 18:21-22 says, “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. (22) And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee.”
Composer Johann Sebastian Bach had the right perspective on music. He wrote, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul… I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music… Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”3
“At the top of Bach’s compositions, we find the letters “JJ” written in the corner. At the completion of his musical manuscripts, he penned “SDG” as the concluding statement to his music. A little lesson in Latin helps us understand Bach’s intentions. The letters that Bach wrote at the beginning and end of his music are prayers. JJ is an abbreviation for “Jesu Juva,” which translated into English means, “Jesus, help me.” At the beginning of every work, Bach beseeches the Lord to guide him. The SDG at the end of his music stands for “Soli Deo Gloria.” Here Bach prays that each piece of music will humbly proclaim “To God Alone [be] the Glory.”4
The day is coming when the WORLD’s music will die – Hallelujah and Amen! God’s music, though, will never die – again, Hallelujah and all God’s people said Amen and Amen!!