"Day That Music Died" Concert Poster Sold for Nearly $500,000

Photo: Pete Norton Getty Images Sport

An unspeakably important concert poster in the history of rock 'n' roll and in the field of Americana and mainstream pop culture. Echoing the Hank Williams concert poster from New Year's Day 1953 that we've broken records with in recent years, this is an original advertising window card for the show that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper never made it to. For the record: This is a fully original, authentic concert poster from Moorhead, Minnesota for the 12th stop on the ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour of January-February 1959.

It is completely untouched and unrestored. The tour starred Buddy Holly and the Crickets, plus support hit-makers Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and Dion & the Belmonts, plus the unknown Frankie Sardo. After the 11th concert took place in Clear Lake, Iowa on Monday night, February 2, Buddy Holly chartered a four-seat airplane to skip ahead quickly to the next stop in the next state - Moorhead, Minnesota. Skipping past all the intricacies of the story, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (real name: J.P. Richardson) joined him. The weather was bad, sometime after midnight the plane went down in farmland, and all lives were lost. The date given on the death certificates of all three men is February 3, 1959. That is the date on this poster. And that is, in the words of Don McLean's immortal "American Pie" song, "the day the music died."

The advertisement for the Winter Dance Party tour’s stop at the Moorhead Armory in Minnesota made $447,000 at Heritage Auctions on Friday, becoming the most expensive concert poster ever sold.


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