Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression, and learned to play guitar and sing alongside his siblings. His style was influenced by gospel music, country music, and rhythm and blues acts, which he performed in Lubbock with his friends from high school.

On February 2, before their appearance in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane from Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa. Shortly after 12:55 am on February 3, 1959, the musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), and the pilot Roger Peterson were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed into a frozen cornfield five miles northwest of Mason City, Iowa airport shortly after take-off. The three musicians, who were ejected from the fuselage upon impact, suffered severe head and chest injuries. Holly was 22 years old.

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