Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Day the Music Died

While many Americans today have their minds on the Super Bowl, pop music historians remember this being the anniversary of “The Day the Music Died.” Originating from Don McLean’s classic hit “American Pie”, that phrase summarized a horrific event that happened sixty years ago. 

On February 3rd, 1959, a chartered airplane crashed in a frozen field near Mason City, Iowa killing rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. This tragedy has been of particular interest to me since their next concert would have been in Moorhead, Minnesota, the city where I grew up. The concert site was only five blocks from the house I would spend most of my childhood. One of the performers who filled in for the deceased musicians was Robert Velline, who went on to a successful career as Bobby Vee. My late father went to high school with Bobby and shared an art class with him. Vee himself died a couple of years ago due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Technically, the music of all these musicians hasn’t died. Their songs continue to be heard on oldies stations and other outlets. Sometimes I played their music during my years as a disc jockey in nightclubs and at wedding dances. Now as an evangelist, I’m more interested in where these musicians are spending eternity. 

Shortly after that tragic plane crash, a tribute record was released called “Three Stars.” In this song, Tommy Dee talked about Buddy Holly singing for God now. That’s a likely possibility since Buddy grew up attending a Baptist church. Hopefully, he got born again prior to his death.

“Three Stars” also mentioned God “calling” Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper to heaven. Considering these two singers were 17 and 28 years old respectively, this is inconsistent with Scripture. While some martyrs have laid down their lives for the gospel at a young age, God desires to satisfy us with long life (Psalm 91:16). In addition, we cannot assume Ritchie and the Big Bopper are in heaven. They needed to have called on the name of Jesus while alive in order to pass through the Pearly Gates.

What about you? Are you certain of your eternal destiny? You can be sure of singing with the angels in heaven (and possibly the singers previously mentioned) if you know the Lord.

I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing, ‘Hallelujah! The salvation and glory and power are God’s—'" Revelation 19:1 (The Message)

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