From Rockin Robin:
Tommy Allsup, who lost perhaps rock and roll music’s most famous coin flip but won nearly 58 more years of his life, died Wednesday (January 11, 2017). He was 85.
Allsup lost his celebrated coin flip with Ritchie Valens, who flipped the coin and called heads. The coin came up heads. That meant Valens would join Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) and pilot Roger Peterson on the ill-faded plane crash that killed all four on February 3, 1959. The plane crashed not long after takeoff from Clear Lake, Iowa, the site of the Winter Dance Party Tour. The quartet was trying to take a quick trip to Fargo, North Dakota, instead of traveling on the very-cold bus.
The incident was the inspiration for the famous 1972 #1 song “American Pie” by Don McLean, who called February 3, 1959 “The Day The Music Died.”
In the far right photo, that’s Buddy Holly with the glasses and Tommy Allsup.
Allsup’s coin flip was so famous that in 1979, he started the “Tommy’s Heads Up Saloon” in Dallas. Among the performers Allsup worked with were Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson.
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