Home » Episodes » Episode 34 – Queens, NY & Clear Lake, IA (Why the Streamers?)

On Episode 34, Emily tells us about the terrible story behind an infamous headline: Headless Body in Topless Bar. Then, Rachel shares about the life and death of Buddy Holly. Hopefully, you’re horrified.

Content/Trigger Warnings: plane crash, dismemberment 


Rachel 0:14
Hi, welcome to horrible history. I’m Rachel Everett-Lozon.

Emily 0:18
And I’m Emily Barlean. And how are you today? My love?

Rachel 0:22
I am good. We are pre recording this one because this one’s going to come out July 8. So I don’t have any new updates since the last episode because it’s the same day for us.

Emily 0:35
I did want to ask you, since we didn’t talk about this on the other episode: How do you feel about all the Britney Spears stuff? Oh, it’s like all very pop culture reference here. But like, Oh my god, sorry, Britney.

Rachel 0:49
It is hashtag free Britney. It is insane. Insane what’s going on with her? And I mean, obviously, you and I were in college in 2008. We were around. We were up to date with the whole head shaving thing. That was before, at least in my stupid young brain. That was before mental health was a huge part of the conversation about Britney Spears. Everybody’s like she crazy. She’s nuts. Yeah, yeah.

Emily 1:16
Yeah. So really sad. Hearing her talk was really sad. Yeah, I was just so glad to hear that. She admitted it because she spent a lot of time saying like, you guys. Really, it’s like your Instagram is fucked up. Like I know. Yeah, fine. Everybody can see that you’re crying for help. You’re literally crazy and crying for help. And like, you look so sad. And I’m just like, oh my gosh.

Rachel 1:43
Her talking about wanting to have another kid but they they’re forcing her to have an IUD like

Emily 1:48
it like forced sterilization. It’s crazy. It’s just like what parent does that to a kid? Oh my gosh.

Rachel 1:55
Fuck Jaime Spears.

Emily 1:57
Britney Spears was the first concert I ever went to when I was thirteen and I wore this like precious little like black dress with like colored flowers on the front and my friend and I made signs, of course, and they were felt for some reason. So we could like roll them up and carry them easily. And mine said All hail Queen Britney.

Rachel 2:22
Oh my god. Love Britney Spears. So that was the first CD I ever bought the first tape I ever bought. I bought two cassette tapes and it was one of them was Backstreet Boys and the other was Spice Girls.

Emily 2:37
I had both of those on cassette my first CD I bought three at a time I bought Robin Shania Twain. Oh, yeah. And something else. I think maybe Backstreet Boys. I don’t really know. But yeah.

Rachel 2:52
My first CD. Yeah.

Emily 2:55
The part where she said, “I wasn’t good. I was great.” was like, I’m like she’s in there. Like and also if she can have a Vegas residency and like, I went and saw her in Vegas, and she was incredible. Like, yeah, she she doesn’t need someone managing her. No. Yeah. Like, no,

Rachel 3:15
I’m like, She’s almost 40 years old. Hashtag free Brittany. let her live her life. Let her hang out with her boyfriend. Like Come on. Like, where she was like,

Emily 3:24
I want my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his fucking car. Like, yeah, I can’t even drive her around like insane.

Rachel 3:30
Yeah, yeah. What point like your her mental health? Yeah.

Emily 3:36
Yeah, for sure.

Rachel 3:37
So okay, angers me as a therapist as a Brittany fan as a human being.

Emily 3:42
Yeah, for sure. Well, speaking of the queen, Queen Brittany, I am going to Queens. New York City. Thank you. And so I have not been to Queens. I’ve been to Brooklyn, I’ve been to Manhattan. But queens has its own flair. Like all the boroughs do like they all have their own like little thing about them. So I did some digging specifically about what we would do if we were focusing our New York City trip on queens, which is the second largest borough. Hey, huh. So culturally, Queen sounds pretty damn cool. It has been the center of the punk rock movement, particularly in New York, which is awesome. And I don’t know if you know this, but I fancied myself about the widest most vanilla punk rock person in college ever thought wearing Converse and painted my nails black and like being a groupie, for a local punk band made me so. But yeah,

Rachel 4:46
I did just recently this week, make a playlist on Pandora called “Sugar, We’re going down.”

Emily 4:53
Fucking good song. Yes.

Rachel 4:54
Yeah. So I’m like, show me more music like this. Lots of follow up.

Unknown Speaker 4:58

Emily 4:59
I’ll have to send you the playlist I have on my amazon music that’s called. It’s just called nostalgia and it’s like all that shit. And it’s so good. Sum 41 and Blink 182, like, oh, they’re so good. Yes, but I was a poser. But anyways, totally me like we were legit. The Ramones originated out of Queens, Tony Bennett, Francis Ford Coppola and Paul Simon also lived there for a time. Nice. Okay, cool. So queens also has a really notable African American culture. And they have establishments like the African poetry theater, and the black spectrum Theatre Company, which really specifically caters to African Americans and queens, which sounds so cool. I’d love to see some performances there. Yeah, that’s awesome. And then the cuisine reflects the very like vast cultural diversity that they have going on. So they have different neighborhoods within queens. And then the cuisine of that neighborhood will represent the the demographics of that neighborhood. So like a storia is one of the neighborhoods and it has a lot of Greek restaurants because it has a traditionally Greek population. And then there’s Jackson Heights, which has Indian cuisine and Latin American eateries. And so I’ve again love Greek food, and I fucking love Indian food. So I was like, Yes, take me there. So I found two restaurants, in my googling that I would be eager to check out. And the first is a Greek restaurant, and it’s called stamatis, which is just like, simple, authentic, accurate food that you would find in Greece. And there’s like these murals on the wall of serene like seaside views with leaping dolphins and stuff like that, and like recessed blue lightning and whatever. And their go to on the menu is the lamb with tomato sauce, which has orzo and a pool of like satiny red sauce and the lamb super tender, which I’m not usually a lamb person, but if it’s their signature, I wouldn’t try it.

Rachel 7:10
For my husband’s birthday, we went to a local Greek restaurant here called Sally’s. That is almost exactly what I got. It was amazing.

Emily 7:20
Oh my gosh, it sounds so freakin good. There was a good Greek restaurant St. Louis that it kind of went downhill. But when I first moved there, I went there a lot. And they did the fried cheese that was on fire. So they come to your tail table with it fully on fire. And then they say, oh, but like that, you know, go out and it was so cool. Anyways, so back in Queens, we’d also want to go to Seva, which is one of those restaurants that apparently we won’t be able to shut up about until like everyone we know has tried it. And they do have this is an Indian restaurant, by the way. So they do have like a 1595 prefix sampler where you can get like an appetizer and an entree and a dessert. Yeah, but the reviews did say like, if you do that you’re getting a good price, but you’re missing out on like, that beautiful thing that happens when one person gets Chicken Tikka. And one person gets lamb and one person gets a bit of everybody, you just get out try it all. And that is how I prefer to eat at all restaurants like

Rachel 8:29
yeah, Indian food specifically or like sushi. Yeah.

Emily 8:33
Yeah. So I’m just like, if I go to a restaurant or go to dinner with people who I don’t know very well, I’m always like, Oh, I only get to have one meal tonight. Yeah. Okay, so now that we’re all salivating, let’s move along. So fun fact that you may not know, but I was editor of my high school newspaper. And then Carson and I were editors of the college newspaper at Concordia. And so like, by God, if had headline writing isn’t the hardest fucking part of putting a newspaper together? Like I believe it. It’s fucking hard. It has to catch attention. You have like five words to work with. It’s fucking hard. I’m not good. In short, that’s how

Rachel 9:16
I feel about doing like, these episodes, like Emily edits them, and then she sends them to me and I listen for any bumps or scrapes that she may have missed. And then I write down like, this week of social media content or like potential episode titles, and it’s fucking hard because I’m gonna hear all these charming and hilarious, I don’t know what to pick out. That’s gonna make somebody else go, ooh, that I want to listen to that.

Emily 9:39
Right? How do you find three words that’s going to spark attention totally. So in 1983, an incident happened in Queens. And all the papers took quite a different approach to how they are going to talk about it and what their headlines were going to be. And I’ll let you decide which of these you wanted to pick up in. Rain. Okay, the Daily News went with queens night of horror. news day the Long Island paper that published a New York City edition at the time titled their story, a night of terror, terror, terror. For the New York Times, it was owner of a bar shot to death. semi colon suspect is held. Okay, New York Times. The New York Post, however, had a different take. They were of course, the most colorful of New York’s tabloid newspapers still are. And they took it a different route. Here’s their headline, headless body and topless bar.

Rachel 10:48
That’s what I want. I want to read about that. What’s funny in the topless bar,

Emily 10:52
right? To this day, one of the most famous headlines in journalistic history. Like when I was doing research for the story, everything that came up was about the headline. It was amazing headline and then like the guy who wrote the headline died recently and so it was like Yeah, all right, this journalist who wrote this amazing headline died

Rachel 11:17
Do you remember those commercials? They brought it back? I think for the Super Bowl last year that I think it’s like a Budweiser commercial. Real Man of geniusssss. There’s a good song in there somewhere.

Emily 11:35
There’s something there. I love it. So today I’m going to tell you the brief but horrible story that is behind that headline. Okay, let’s body in topless bar.

Rachel 11:48
Such a good fucking so good.

Emily 11:52
So the horrible man that committed this crime was named Charles Dingle. Dingle, calm down Diggle calm down Degas. He was a security guard, but he really desperately wanted to be a cop. Unfortunately, when you have a criminal record, you don’t get to be a member of the police force. And I just feel like, all of that kind of tells me a lot about who Charles Dingell is, you know, he’s someone who’s never been given what he wants, like, he can’t get his dream job. He has to have this lower job lower paying, like, down and out doesn’t have any money. Kind of like he’s in that mood, where he’s just like, you know, oh my gosh, the world’s against me. Like, that’s Charles. Yeah.

Rachel 12:43
Well, I’m also desperately wanting to be a cop, but not being able to be a cop, to me is always a red flag.

Emily 12:50
Right, exactly. So on the night of April 14 1983, Charles Dingell went to herbies a topless bar in Queens. Now, Charles had been snorting cocaine off of the bar and drinking heavily. Not a great chart. Right. Not a great

Rachel 13:10
write off of the bar, like in

Emily 13:11
not at the bar. Okay, hugging bar. Yeah,

Rachel 13:14
I mean, this is 83. So everybody was like, cocaine, man. It’s all good. Yeah.

Emily 13:23
So he’s like, causing a scene basically. And so one of the things that he was shouting about was that none of the girls there would dance for him. But it was one of the nights that the girls weren’t dancing. Like they weren’t supposed to be dancing that night.

Rachel 13:39
They were dancing for anybody like, right,

Emily 13:41
no. Like, they were literally sitting around and drinking at the bar. And he was like, fucking going nuts that they wouldn’t dance for him. Show. The bar owner, Herbert Cummings herbies. He was like tolerating Dingle for a while, let it go on for a couple of hours. His wife was one of the dancers there, and she was like sitting at the bar having a drink with the others. Everyone was irritated by this guy, but you know, they’re like, he’s high. He’s drunk, whatever, like just ignore him. Then his bill came. And someone you know, who’s the world’s against me gets his bill and is furious that he has to pay that much for it. And you like flies into a rage and start screaming like, I know that pay for this? Hell no, I’m not paying for this. Well, then you shouldn’t drink so much. Right? Exactly. I’m sure it was like, they wouldn’t even dance for me. So I’m not going to pay for my beers or whatever.

Rachel 14:39
And it’s like, well, then don’t have 15 beers, right? Fucking drunk.

Emily 14:43
Yeah. So Herbert asks Dingle to leave, as I believe is his right as the owner of that bar 100% Dingell did not agree and drew a gun and shot lemmings in the head. No. Then he locked the bar and held the four women who were working there hostage inside, which includes the now murdered man’s wife. So she’s has to sit there and see that her husband is dead on the floor level. To make matters worse, Charles then raped one of the women there. I’m not sure which one but so he’s fully on a spree. Terror

Rachel 15:32
crazy. My there’s no consequences. I mean, that might not be because of the cocaine that might just be because of who he is.

Emily 15:42
Exactly. So he’s holding these peoples hostage. He just raped someone. He’s murdered someone he’s trying to figure out what to do. And then there’s a knock at the door, which startles him, of course, he goes to the door to see who it is. And it’s this woman named Diane Solomon. And she was a female friend of the Cummings, the couple. And of course, he can’t let her like leave and raise alarm, like what’s going on here. So he like pulls her inside and locks the door behind her and takes on another hostage. So now he has five passages still high off his ass trying to figure out what to do. And so at this point, he realizes that he needs some money so that he can get the fuck out of there make some sort of a clean getaway? Yeah. And so we start asking the women in the bar to empty their purses. He’s like, everybody, empty your purses. Like, I need to see what you got, or whatever. And he discovers in this process, that Diane, the woman who had just came in, had a career that might be useful to him. She was a part time mortician,

Rachel 16:54
I don’t like where this is going, I don’t know where I’m like, where so and

Emily 17:00
so he was delighted by this because he thought, Oh my gosh, she’s a mortician, she could remove the bullet from this dead man’s head. And then the cops can’t trace the bullet back to the gun because I’ll take the bullet with me. So they won’t have like, any evidence of me or whatever.

Rachel 17:21
That is drunk thinking at night. Oh, we’ve all been there like this great idea. It was an X ray. It was not no like that. NARRATOR But it was a huge mistake.

Emily 17:35
I’ve made a huge mistake. Yes, of course. They’re in a an a topless bar. And so they don’t have the right tools needed to do this. Now all they have is a steak knife. Which, let’s just be honest, it’s not going to do any kind of clean work. Like it’s serrated. It’s flimsy. It’s not going to do the job. But I’m sure with a gun in her face. This poor woman

Rachel 18:01
best but that’s a friend. But

Emily 18:03
she Oh, I know. Yeah. So keep in mind that not only that she knows this man. And like, has this long friendship with him. But his wife is watching and his wife is there watching like, Oh my gosh, you’re cutting into my dead husband’s head. But she’s also like, a mortician. And so it got me to thinking what a mortician really had the skills to know how to like, remove a bullet from the head. And so I googled And guys, I went down a fucking rabbit hole about being a mortician versus being an autopsy tag. And like, what’s the process of embalming and the process of an autopsy? And like, I was gonna include all of that in this. And then I was like, No, this is a good happy hour story. So those of you who are interested in this kind of stuff, which I found it fucking fascinating, while I did this research on Happy Hour, which you can access immediately after this, if you’re a $5 patron. I’m going to be walking through what a mortician does. What the embalming process is, like, what the autopsy process is like, and just to like, basically, let’s take a picture of what happens to your body after you die. So it’s pretty cool for lack of a better word, but calm slash horrible history. Yeah, but so for this story, I did write down like the job description of a mortician because I was like, wait, let’s do they do this kind of thing. So here’s the job description. morticians generally, will receive notification that someone has died and arrange the pickup, you know, do the transportation they’ll meet with their families during an appointment, comfort them plan the funeral arrangements you know, like, help them select a casket. Figure out where they want the viewing To be that kind of thing, they’re going to obtain information from the families to complete all the necessary legal documents, like their burial permits that you need to have and death certificates and things like that. They’re the people that arrange everything you would need for the funeral. So like an obituary, notice, facilities, flowers, clergymen, like oftentimes, they’re responsible for all of that, or at least, like managing it, so they know what swear and whatnot. Sometimes, they do the embalming. Often, though, they would just oversee the embalming of someone who is more likes. So a mortician does not have to have like bachelor’s degree, like I think it may be it two years or associate’s degree or something like that. But so sometimes for the embalming stuff, which we’ll get into on Patreon, it’s more medical than you would think, like. So they might be just overseeing someone who’s doing that. But then they also the dressing and the cosmetics and like preparing the body so that you look alive, though. I never think that they really do. As we talked about, recently, yeah, yeah. And you know, they transport people or they transport the dead body to the funeral. They greet and see attendants, they transport things to cemeteries, set up flowers, all that kind of stuff. So as you can hear, there’s only really one part of this job description that has anything to do with like modifying a person’s body. And that’s embalming and its makeup. Yeah, yeah. And so sometimes they don’t even do the embalming part. So because the embalming and bobbing part is like, I don’t want to give it away. But like, you know, they have to put all the formaldehyde into your body and like, take out some things and stuff. But

Rachel 21:54
right. embalming is basically like, keeping them fresh, is that like, it’s

Emily 21:59
preservation? It’s a preservation not for. It’s not like an autopsy, where you’re looking at things or cutting people open. Like, at most, you’re, like, making a small cut and filling something with a fluid. You know, it’s not, it’s not the same. So I’m guessing that this part time, mortician probably didn’t know what she was doing to be able to cut into someone’s head and like, get a bullet out. But anyways, that was the rabbit hole I went down. But So with all that in mind, and the fact that she’s friend at the disease started, I already kind of said this, like, let’s just assume this was a request that she wasn’t totally equipped to handle. But she did attempt it, but she could not get the bullet out. So what does Dingell do? Well, his coked up brain decides the next best thing was to fully remove the head. Just obviously, just take this head off. And then I’ll take the head with me and then they won’t have the bullet. And, you know, that’s where his brain went. And so then he then forced this woman Herbes friend to cut her do it. He made her do it. Oh, so she’s, it’s like if you if I was dead, and you had to cut my head off, and you just found out I died and my husband’s like, over across the room like sobbing and like watching all of this like,

Rachel 23:28
no how kill me.

Emily 23:30
I can’t do me with a gun to my head. Like only Seriously? No,

Rachel 23:33
not even I’d rather I’d rather you shoot me Because honestly, that’s gonna traumatize me. I am not getting over that. And also like, I’m squeamish like,

Emily 23:43
Oh, yeah, you went out

Rachel 23:45
quickly. Like I might be able to start it but I will pass out the second that I see blood. I can’t do it. And I’m just thinking about like, how difficult how much strength it would actually be to cut off ahead. Like with a steak knife. That’s going to take me like at least 20 minutes like there’s no way I don’t have the upper body stank. I don’t have the temperance or the disposition. I will pass the fuck out.

Emily 24:20
I can’t

Rachel 24:20
I can’t I look. I have a lot of skills. Okay, nunchucking skills.

Emily 24:32
no, no, no. Well, apparently Diane had more constitution to be able to do this because she did get his head fully off of his body. And so Dingell placed Herbert’s severed head into a wine box, and covered it with streamers and decorations from the bar. fucked up right Why? Then decided to flee with the bucks. But it’s Kerwin because this is that story where it’s like, never ending terrible.

Rachel 25:10
So we call maybe the universe is against ya

Emily 25:13
date, maybe stop. Yeah.

Rachel 25:15
This is your karma saying don’t fucking do this anymore.

Emily 25:20
I know, right? So we call it a cab. And when it is or when it arrives, he orders the driver at gunpoint into the bar. And then he takes with him, the mortician and the wife as hostages in the car. Why? It’s like, I want you to have to stay with this man’s head for as long as possible and traumatize more and more.

Rachel 25:45
You’re trying to get away already, like you left witnesses who can now call the police. Why not just leave them all? an oak brain makes no.

Emily 25:55
So then they drive over to Manhattan. And I guess he’s intending to dump the head in the river. But the streamers

Rachel 26:02
and the party box. Party head? No, that’s got to mean something different. Ah, no, no.

Emily 26:13
Yeah, God. Luckily, because of the huge amounts of booze and cocaine, he was starting to doze off. And so he had to pull the car over to sleep. And the women escaped. And thankfully, and they went, of course, fucking straight to the police. Yes. And then the police came and arrested him, as he was still snoozing in the car with the wind box next to him with the head in it, like talk about stupid criminals, right? Seriously. Ah, so he had a non jury trial and was convicted of second degree murder, rape and kidnapping, and was sentenced to 25 years to life. He has been denied parole three times. And his third failed request for parole was in 2010. In an interview with the post, Dingle denied that he had anything to do with the crime, and really, dude, and why is the head in your car? Why? Why do you have six people who are saying that you did this? Yeah, exactly. Why the streamers? He is he was conducting his own appeal. And as he said, quote, they the parole board members expect you to come in and plead guilty and take responsibility for the crime. But I can’t do it because I didn’t do it.

Rachel 27:34
But you did do it. And you’re a fucking danger to society. regardless of if you did it or not, but he’ll just say you did it. You have a much better chance of getting out if you actually admit that you did it. But actually, you know what, don’t say you did it saying they’re in raw. I don’t care like oh,

Emily 27:52
seriously. Yeah. He also argued that the headline, the headless bar and top or headless body bar, and all the media reports on the case made a fair trial impossible. And so then that’s why he’s fighting the conviction.

Rachel 28:08
Okay, but you still murdered a guy and then watched his wife or made his wife watch someone else. Who was his friend, like you traumatized a whole room of people,

Emily 28:20
dude, no room for sure. After murdering. So look, no, there’s so many layers. Yes, so the parole board Luckily, noted his long prior criminal record his propensity for victimizing others and at least 30 violations in prison, including assaulting the staff, and said, This continued poor behavior coupled with your disturbing criminal history makes your release incompatible with public safety and welfare. To release you would appreciate the serious nature of the instant offense and undermine respect for the law. parole is denied. Oh, my boom, bitch. He was never paroled. He never admitted that he did it either. But he died in prison in 2012. But the headline that kept his crime in the spotlight for many years still lives in infamy to this day.

Rachel 29:22
Wow. What a crazy story I have never heard about before.

Emily 29:25
Right. I literally just like stumbled across the headless body in a topless bar and women went down that rabbit hole but Nick Yeah, yeah. busy. Crazy. Yeah.

Rachel 29:36
I’m excited to hear more about it. So that’s my story. What do you got? Alright. So let’s do this. Most of us in our 30s are familiar with the band Weezer, and like we were talking about music and in the beginning of your story when you were talking about queens, and we’ve all heard that Sam Buddy Holly, who right? And pretty much everyone regardless of what age you are has heard the song American I guess what? They’re both about the same dude. And we are going to talk about Buddy Holly and his horrible death.

Emily 30:15
Oh, so exciting.

Rachel 30:18
Yes, yes. Normally I preface with where we are going before I dive into the topic, but pretty much everything in clear like Iowa is named after Buddy Holly, so I’m doing it backwards. Yeah,

Emily 30:30
we do like

Rachel 30:33
Case in point, there are a giant pair of glasses that you can visit and pay your respects to Buddy Holly. These spectacles mark the site of his death, which of course I’m going to talk about. We could also check out the surf Ballroom in clearlake, which is the last place that Buddy Holly performed. There are guided tours, or for those who aren’t into that the ballroom is open to the public and you can just walk around that as well just dance

Emily 31:01
in the ballroom just

Rachel 31:02
dance in the ballroom together. And after a tour we could eat at the surf district rock and roll rail. And guess what? It is located on Buddy Holly place this restaurant has five star reviews pretty much everywhere on the internet. And it seems a little quirky so obviously attract on the menu. Yeah, it boasts dishes such as buddy’s barbecue sandwich, which has pulled pork onion straws, jalapenos, sweet pickle chips and tangy barbecue sauce and a pretzel bun.

Emily 31:37
Whoa, that sounds so good.

Rachel 31:40

Emily 31:41
I’m in a pretzel bun person though. Okay, with a potato pretzel bun. They’re too hard. I

Rachel 31:45
like a potato bun too. So good though. I’m the love me tenderloin. pounded its hand pounded pork tenderloin, grilled or breaded. topped with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles served on a brioche bun.

Emily 32:02
I love brioche bread I love bread.

Rachel 32:05
I love bread or the Strawberry Fields wrapped which is grilled chicken topped with a spinach spring mix strawberries fetta cheese and homemade strawberry vinegar wrapped in a garlic herb tortilla. Which also sounds very good. sounds really good. Huh? So now that I’ve made you hungry, I will tell you all about the life and death of Buddy Holly, which will probably destroy your appetite maybe forever. Hey, Hey, buddy. Holly was born Charles harden Holly with an E. So h o Ll e y? On September 7 1936 in Lubbock, Texas. He was the youngest of four and his mom called him buddy sheet that Charles was too big a name for such a little guy. Just precious.

Emily 32:55
I always feel that way when like a little kid is named Greg. or something. It’s like, you gotta come like greggii or something. Yeah. Like your tiny little baby in your name is Robert. Like, oh my god. Yeah, yeah. That might have Robert Goodbye, Bobby or Robbie or something. When he was little?

Rachel 33:24
They called him Bobby Lee, Bobby Lee, Bobby Lee. And he went to like kindergarten or preschool. He’s probably around Lincoln’s age, our son, and they have your name sitting out at your desk, you know, or at your spot on the table so that people can recognize it. And he realized his name was actually Robert. And he went home that day and said, Don’t call me Bobby Lee. My name is Robert.

Emily 33:50
From then on out, so he’s been a serious guy for a long time.

Rachel 33:54
He is serious guy. So Betty was into music from a super young age. his older brothers taught him guitar. And he also learned how to play piano and fiddle in 1949, but he showed off his musical prowess and pre pubescent voice recording a home recording of my two time in woman, which is an interesting song for a 13 year old to write that’s a buddy how you original Batman woman. His mom and dad were super proud of him and they helped him with song ideas. They even wrote a letter to the editor of Lubbock SLOs local newspaper, defending rock and roll teenagers in response to an article attacking young people and their love of this music.

Emily 34:43
That’s awesome.

Rachel 34:44
Yeah, you know, when you and I look at photos of Buddy Holly, he looks about as sweet and innocent as one could possibly be. He, apparently he was rebellious by 1950s standards. So when he was in high school, a preacher at the local Baptist Church asked him, What would you do if you had $10? But he replied, If I had $10 I wouldn’t be here.

Emily 35:21
$10 dollars isn’t that much, bud

Rachel 35:23
I know well, you know, in 1950 I don’t know how much that is in today’s money, but maybe more than $10 Yeah, 100 bucks, like at any feature, maybe 50 bucks. Okay, so although buddy’s brothers had a tilling business, but he had his sights set on that rock and roll lifestyle. after he graduated from high school, he started a country band the crickets and was regularly featured on a local radio station in 1955 buddy’s band open for Elvis Presley when he came through town, which is amazing, especially when you’re like Ohio, Ohio, Midwest tours that he was asked are no, this would have been in Texas. I’m sorry. This was in Lubbock, Texas, not Ohio yet, but he was awestruck by Elvis and one of his bandmates Sonny Curtis stated that they became Elvis close, the day after they open for him. They went from country to rock and and I think they like dyed their hair and started wearing different clothes

Emily 36:30
rolling their cigarettes up in their sleeves other white t shirts.

Rachel 36:34
The greasers totally. And shortly afterwards, buddy was discovered by a record company talent scout while he was performing at a skating rink. Oh, is that just the most 1950s thing you have ever heard? Seriously. So get signed to a record deal? Like at the concert where he’s opening for Elvis? No, no, no, it’s just this big shot record producer checking out what was going on it fucking state city.

Emily 37:05
50s that is so fuckin 50s I love it. Oh my god.

Rachel 37:11
In 1936, Barry and the crickets became, began recording demos in Nashville. It was here that the he dropped from Holly because it was misspelled in his first record contract. Oh, that’s so funny. It’s like, well, they recorded that’ll be the day in 1957, which would prove to be Buddy Holly’s breakthrough hit. Over the next year, their group would make the top 40 with over seven singles.

Emily 37:39

Rachel 37:41
Yeah. And just to throw out there. Now, if an artist drops an album, they dropped the entire album and multiple of those songs could come out. Here. They’re dropping one single at a time so that any year is insane. Probably it’s kind of crazy. Mm hmm. I wonder why they do it that way. I know. I don’t know. All right. So buddy left the crickets in search of a solo career in October 1958 and moved to Greenwich Village, New York this time. Not like London like London baby now New York City. The split from the band resulted in some financial strife for buddy. So he reluctantly agreed to do a Midwest tour in 1959, which was the winter dance party tour. This tour which is also very 50s. Yeah, it included quite a few big names at the time including Richie Valens. jp The Big Bopper Richardson, big Dion and the belmonts Frankie sardo Waylon Jennings, Tommy all SAP and Carl bunch this time is a complete shit show. Emily You and I have both survived our share of Midwest winters they are brutal Yeah, it is subzero a lot It is humid cold meaning literally all of your bodily fluids free immediately I’m you step outside

Emily 39:11
very happy that I won’t have to leave my house. Like Yeah, I love a snowstorm if I don’t have to leave my house and I don’t have totally a house because I don’t go to work now.

Rachel 39:22
Yeah, we both work from home but like in Colorado, it’s dry. It’s right outside. It’s dry. We get 300 days of sunshine a year so it’s not warm but it feels warmer as long as it’s not windy

Emily 39:35
it’s windy here and blowy and it’s because there’s nothing but planes so there’s no like yeah, hills to stop it and I just I always describe it as the kind of cold where your bones hurt like it hurts. Yes, inside of your body. Strangely, it’s it’s,

Rachel 39:54
I call it booger freezing cold because you walk out and like immediately you can feel In your nostrils that everything is just frozen.

Emily 40:02
Yeah, I hate that.

Rachel 40:04
That doesn’t happen in Colorado. That’s the humidity that’s humid cold. So it was also our worst nightmare, not just the Midwest cold, but it was not organized. Well, I don’t know who is in charge of it, but it was not done well,

Emily 40:18
the 1950s fire fest.

Rachel 40:22
The concerts were scheduled hundreds of miles apart from one another, basically doing 24 shows in 24 days. And they were traveling through one of the worst Midwest winters in decades by bus and not a nice charter bus that you might be able to be in now. Like a draft yas bus No,

Emily 40:45

Rachel 40:46
exaggerating. Carl bunch, who was Buddy Holly’s drummer, had frostbite on his feet from this fucking mess.

Emily 40:53
He needs his feet to drum Damn it. Yes.

Rachel 40:57
So the despondent tour made it to Clear Lake Iowa on Monday, February 2. By this point, Buddy Holly was over being cold and sad and decided to charter a small plane. He planned to bring Waylon Jennings and Tommy allsup with him on the flight to their next venue, which was in Morehead, Minnesota. And so he’s like, okay, we’ll do the show at the ballroom in the surf Lake ballroom or surf ballroom and Clear Lake that we were talking about a little earlier. their plans didn’t change. And Tommy also lost his seat to Richie Valens via coin flip. He’s like, I’ll bet you and Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to the Big Bopper because he had the flu and Waylon was like, all right, like, you’re sick. I don’t want you to suffer through this brutal bus ride. Like,

Emily 41:49
here we go. Oh, he did, however,

Rachel 41:52
tell the three men. Quote, I hope your old plane crashes did it. We’ll see. The concert was iconic. After it ended buddy Richie Valens and the Big Bopper headed to Mason City Municipal Airport to board the tiny plane. Their pilot was 21 year old Roger Peterson. At around 12:55am the plane took off into the snowy thing. Jerry Dwyer, who owned Dwyer Flying Service, buddy had rented the plane from watch the plane lift off then, three minutes later, he saw the planes taillights turn downward and immediately vanish. Jerry Dwyer tried to radio for help, but he didn’t get a response. So he hopped into his own small plane in an attempt to retrace the flights route less than six miles away from the airport in a cornfield and clear like Iowa. He saw the wreckage. Debris had been scattered over across 500 feet. There were no survivors.

Emily 43:03
How bad you feel when you’re Waylon Jennings, you fuckin were like, hope your plane crashes and then it does.

Rachel 43:10

Emily 43:10
I mean, be haunted by that. Oh, my God.

Rachel 43:13
And he was and we’ll talk about it. Oh. The official cause of the crash was determined as pilot disorientation because of inclement weather

Emily 43:22
the sheer willpower of Waylon Jennings mine.

Rachel 43:26
That’s what it was a bad fucking karma. Roger Peterson, the 21 year old pilot had recently failed a flight exam and wasn’t qualified to fly in dangerous weather. He It was like the he didn’t understand the weather technology like in the plane, the reader who

Emily 43:42
does I wouldn’t need I know.

Rachel 43:44
I but I’m not a pilot through when Roger Peterson had originally checked the weather, the weather briefer advised him that it was okay conditions, but they quickly deteriorated. Like we’re talking within 10 minutes, the conditions were way worse. Scary. Mm hmm. And although it might be easy to blame the young pilot, the official blame was actually put on the briefers because they did not advise Roger Peterson about the quickly worsening weather conditions.

Emily 44:13
Also, Roger Peterson was dead. So it’s like, well, we can’t boy. Yeah,

Rachel 44:16
I mean, you could blame him, but what are you gonna do? Like he’s been punished enough? You know? Yeah, they killed three other people. Most likely, the pilot underestimated the severity of the weather. So the theory is that he attempted to make a turn up above the clouds but somehow accidentally descended instead. And the plane hit the ground going 170 miles per hour. Oh, no. The right wing tip collided with the ground sending the plane flipping across the four 500 or so feet. That’s awful. Yeah, like any story with a less than satisfying ending. There’s a little bit of conspiracies. So two months after the crash, a 22 caliber roller caliber pistol, allegedly belonging to Buddy Holly was found near the crash site. The rumor was that the gun may have discharged accidentally, which led to the crash. Some people believe that the Big Bopper may have been the one who was shot and or may have initially survived the crash, because his body was found further away from the others. Or when you’re rolling in a plane, things get exactly about exactly. His body was found on a neighboring property on the other side of a fence. Whereas the other three bodies were found close by or inside the wreckage. So they’re thinking it’s possible that he was alive and was like walking and trying to get somewhere and something like that. jp Richardson’s aka the big boppers body was zoomed in 2007 Whoa, examined, no evidence of a bullet was discovered. Well, what’s left at that

Emily 46:05
point? That’s a long time. Yeah.

Rachel 46:07
Yeah. And furthermore, nearly every bone in his body had been broken. Oh, meaning the forensic anthropologist to concur that JP died on impact. Yeah. Yeah, and it gets worse. Yeah, buddy, Holly’s mother and pregnant wife. Oh, found out about his death in the news.

Emily 46:31
Oh, my God.

Rachel 46:34
Of course this cause Maria Elena who is buddy’s wife significant trauma, and she later miscarried the baby. She did not attend his funeral. She did. Yeah, cuz she was just like, I can’t like after all of that trauma, and she’s grieving his death. She’s grieving the miscarriage. She didn’t go. In a tiny silver mining moment, a new policy was created for bidding news media to disclose the names of victims until after the families have been notified.

Emily 47:04
Yeah, God, that’s good that they got that policy out of it.

Rachel 47:07
Yeah, yeah. And Jerry Dwyer, who was the owner of the plane chartering business, was haunted by this plane crash for the rest of his life, and he did eventually establish a scholarship for students setting music, a college fund. That’s my buddy’s legacy lived on in the song American Pie. Of course, the Weezer song called Buddy Holly, and his music continued to be released throughout the 1960s because not everything he had recorded had even been released yet. He his material is said to have influenced Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. The Rolling Stones covered his song not fade away in 1964. And the Beatles chose their name to play to pay homage to the crickets, which was Buddy Holly’s band. Oh, fun fact Paul McCartney bought publishing rights for Buddy Holly’s music. Ironically, in in 1957 interview with the Canadian DJ, Buddy Holly was asked whether rock’n’roll music would last another six or seven months, but he said I rather doubt it

Emily 48:23
was wrong but he was around

Rachel 48:26
the tour from hell, aka the winter dance party tour went on for another two weeks they had to keep fucking performing. Well, Waylon Jennings, the one who made them more of a joke about the plane crashing had to take buddy spot as lead singer.

Emily 48:42
Why would you continue that’s just horrible. God, how are you not just up there singing and crying. And

Rachel 48:51
I would. My last line is even though these guys kept singing February 3 1959, would forever be memorialized as the day the music died.

Emily 49:01

Rachel 49:02
it’s a short story. There’s just like, not a ton of information out there. But like he was, I think 22 when he

Emily 49:09
died, it’s amazing. He did so much already at 22 and then died so young. I wonder I didn’t know that American Pie was about Buddy Holly. I’m trying to think of the lyrics now to think of like, how it

Rachel 49:27
Yeah, they basically talk about the day the music died in reference to because it wasn’t just Buddy Holly, it was the Big Bopper. Yeah, that’s right. Richie balance was also pretty famous.

Emily 49:41
Wow, that’s terrible. It’s so sad.

Rachel 49:46
Yeah, I had like I knew that Buddy Holly died in a plane crash when he was young, but I didn’t know any of the details. And I found a really like nobody talked about the details of the plane crash. I did find a really good source from plane and pilot man. datacom. And so I obviously will link it in our sources, but they had a lot of information about how the young pilot might have, you know, misread things or all of the different factors. I didn’t get super far into the technology because I didn’t understand it. But if you do, and you want to check that out and failing to nirbhaya, like,

Emily 50:22
posts that vary, I just flew for the first time when I went back to St. Louis, since the pandemic started, so is probably the first time I’d flown in two years. I mean, because I had flown that recently, maybe 18 months, I don’t know. But so on the flight home to Omaha, there was turbulence. And I definitely had that moment of like, you know, the first time I fly and there’s turbulence, and you’re like, Oh, my God, it’s gonna be okay. But I travel so much for work and stuff that pre pandemic at least I could like, I’m like, people calm down. Like this is nothing like you’re fine. Like, we have no chance. Yeah, I was all thought it was tough or whatever. And then on this flight, I was like, yeah, planes are scary. As I said, some other episodes. I don’t understand how they work every time it’s a miracle.

Rachel 51:17
That’s true. It’s a modern Marvel, the modern

Emily 51:20

Rachel 51:22
That’s all we got. If you are into learning what morticians do learning about embalming, all that stuff. We’ll be covering it on our Patreon for happy hour. patreon.com slash horrible history.

Emily 51:34
Check it out. And also, you should totally Follow us on tik tok and Instagram. We are at horrible history pod. And you can also email us at horrible history podcast@gmail.com. Also, please rate review and subscribe if you don’t mind. That would be so helpful for us and we would greatly appreciate it.

Rachel 51:55
Or even if you do mind, we don’t care. Just do it. Tell your friends about this podcast. I don’t exam to us if you give us a five star review. I do care.

Emily 52:05
Look, I take it back. Don’t be mean don’t be a fucking dick. I need to get a new thick skin thanks to tick tock. I posted that Genghis Khan video and everyone’s like, haha, like everyone’s just up in arms about how it’s pronounced and whether or not no one actually knows how many people he killed and I’m like,

Rachel 52:25
oh, also are horrible. And we’re like, yeah,

Emily 52:28
we know. We’re not saying listen to the podcast. I’m gonna just start responding to everyone. Try listening to the podcast and then you’ll know the full story.

Rachel 52:38
We can only say so much in 60 seconds.

Emily 52:41
Calm it. Calm your tits, buddy. anyway

Rachel 52:45
but not you guys because you listen. So thanks so much for listening.

Emily 52:49
Hopefully, you’re horrified.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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