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    Buddy Holly Final Concert Surf Ballroom Poster (1959). It was 'the Day the Music Died' -- the infamous plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "Big Bopper" Richardson. The three performers, along with fellow headliner Dion DiMucci and Buddy's new band members Waylon Jennings (playing bass), guitarist Tommy Alsup, and drummer Carl Bunch, had just played a show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Conditions on the "Winter Dance Party" tour bus were miserable; the bus was constantly breaking down, and the lack of heating resulted in both Richie Valens and Big Bopper coming down with colds. Buddy's decision to avoid the bus and charter a plane to Moorhead, Minnesota, the next stop of the tour, turned out to be a tragic one, as was the coin flip that gave Valens a seat over Tommy Alsup, and Richardson talking Waylon Jennings out of his seat.

    The final show in Clear Lake was a last-minute addition to the tour, leaving very little time for promotion. Only an ad in local newspapers and radio spots announced the show. At the town's high school, a few posters, printed in black and blue ink and using an enlarged version of a generic flyer for the tour (also used for the newspaper ad), were prepared to hang at the venue. This poster is believed to be one of them, secured from the wall of the club by a young fan. The poster measures approximately 10.75" x 17". The reverse side has four spots where glue was applied; there is minor paper loss and some remaining glue in each corner. The front shows several large creases and a 1" tear on the bottom border. Overall, the poster is in Good condition, and will present well when framed.

    Over the years, there have been many "fantasy" and reproduction posters made representing this now-historic show, but most of them added extra color or photos of the stars. Based on the aging of the paper and the look of this rather plain, unassuming, and somewhat crudely printed poster, Heritage believes this is one of the original posters that hung at the Surf Ballroom that fateful night. For more information on the poster for this particular concert, we recommend the following sites: The Surf Ballroom (IAGenWeb) and The Night the Music Died (Clear Lake Iowa Alumni). Included with the poster is a photocopy of the Mason City Globe-Gazette from January 31, 1959, showing a one-column width ad for the concert (see final image below).

    We've had a number of experts weigh in on this somewhat controversial poster lately. While it's hard for many of them to believe this to be authentic, no one to date has given us solid evidence that it is in fact a "fantasy" piece printed after the 1959 concert. Our experts at Heritage were as skeptical as everyone else when it first surfaced, but the company stands by our research and close examination of this poster.

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    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    14th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 8,801

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