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Thu Jan 12, 2017, 07:24 AM


Legendary Guitarist Tommy Allsup Dead at 85 - Lost Coin Toss to Fly with Buddy Holly


Friend: Allsup, guitarist who toured with Holly, used life after coin flip ‘for good’


Steele, who spoke with the guitarist’s wife, confirmed Allsup died Wednesday. He was 85.

“Tommy’s body may have been 85, but his hands were as young as ever, and so was his mind,” said Steele, adding he’s a longtime friend of the Holly family and an avid fan and researcher of Holly and the Crickets. “He played unbelievable. It was almost effortless, or seamless.”

Allsup outlived Holly, teenage singer Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who all died Feb. 3, 1959, when the plane they were travelling in after a show crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa.

Holly initially offered members of his touring band, including Allsup, a spot on the four-seater aircraft he chartered after a Winter Dance Party tour across the Midwest, according to A-J Media archives.

Bob Hale, a disc jockey at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, told reporters he flipped the coin that decided whether Allsup or Valens would have the last seat.

It was Allsup who pulled out a 50-cent piece and flipped it.

He lost the coin flip and was asked decades later by music historian Bill Griggs what happened to the coin. Allsup said that he kept it.

“It saved my life,” Allsup told Griggs.


Cross Gently, Tommy.

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Reply Legendary Guitarist Tommy Allsup Dead at 85 - Lost Coin Toss to Fly with Buddy Holly (Original post)
Cooley Hurd Jan 2017 OP
RBInMaine Jan 2017 #1
Cooley Hurd Jan 2017 #2
VOX Jan 2017 #3

Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Thu Jan 12, 2017, 07:27 AM

1. I think Waylon Jennings was almost on that plane too but for some reason didn't get on. Am I right?


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Response to RBInMaine (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 12, 2017, 07:35 AM

2. I believe so. Jennings turned down the offer and stayed on the cold bus.



Before their performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane at Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa, for himself, Jennings, and Tommy Allsup, to avoid the long bus trip to their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Following the Clear Lake show (which ended around midnight), Allsup lost a coin toss and gave up his seat on the charter plane to Ritchie Valens, while Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson, who was suffering from the flu and complaining about how cold and uncomfortable the tour bus was for a man of his size.

When Holly learned that his band mates had given up their seats on the plane and had chosen to take the bus rather than fly, a friendly banter between Holly and Jennings ensued, and it would come back to haunt Jennings for decades to follow: Holly jokingly told Jennings, "Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up!" Jennings jokingly replied, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!"[30] Less than an hour and a half later, shortly after 1:00 AM on February 3, 1959 (later known as The Day the Music Died), Holly's charter plane crashed at full throttle into a cornfield outside Mason City, Iowa, instantly killing all on board.

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Response to RBInMaine (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 12, 2017, 07:37 AM

3. You are absolutely correct about Waylon...


Per Rolling Stone, 02/08/2015:
"...One member of Holly's band who did not make the trip went on to become a country music trailblazer, one of the genre's original "outlaws." Waylon Jennings was hired by Holly to play bass for him on the Winter Dance Party Tour, which began January 23rd, 1959, in Milwaukee. Jennings, 21 at the time, had been in New York City recording sessions produced by Holly, and after taking a train to Chicago, met up with the rest of Holly's band. Problems first arose when the tour buses hired to transport the group began breaking down. After a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 2nd, Holly decided to charter a plane for himself, guitarist Tommy Allsup and Jennings so they could fly to Fargo, North Dakota, instead of taking the long, frozen bus trip. Richardson, who was suffering from the flu, asked Jennings for his seat on the plane, and Valens asked the same of Allsup. When Jennings told Holly that he was going to take the bus, Holly jokingly told him he hoped the bus broke down, to which Jennings replied, "I hope your ol' plane crashes."
"God almighty, for years I thought I caused it," the country legend said decades later..."

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