Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rescued Monologue

I wrote an opening monologue for the Buddy Holly concert show I did recently for Centre Stage and I really liked the way it turned out.

Of course, it got cut for time.

So here it is, so I can at least send it out into the world somehow...

The day the music died. It’s a cliché now, but at the time, we hardly knew what to think. Back in 1959, rock and roll was young, a fad, it seemed, followed only by teenagers. Sure, the big news outlets made cursory mentions of the crash, but it was only in the halls of the high schools that the news really reverberated. The few radio stations in town that actually played rock and roll spun some of the hits in memoriam and Dick Clark featured a tribute on his American Bandstand. But it took time for us to really understand what we’d lost. The talent. The music. The potential. These were artists knocked down in their prime, taken away in a senseless tragedy that was miles and years away from the drug overdoses and craziness that would rob us of later musical icons. When that plane went down in that snowy Iowa cornfield, we lost some of our innocence. We lost some amazing innovation. We lost the driving musical genius that had burned so brightly in rock and roll’s infancy.

The last concert they played happened exactly 50 years ago at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly were touring with Dion and the Belmonts and a young singer named Frankie Sardo on a tour that was dubbed the Winter Dance Party. What a show that must have been…

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