Giving Up Seat in Buddy Holly Plane Saved Jennings’ Life


Waylon Jennings was a member of Buddy Holly’s band on Feb. 3, 1959, when he gave up his seat in a small plane scheduled to take Holly and some other musicians on to the next show.

The plane crashed, killing all aboard, including Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, “the Big Bopper.”

Jennings says he gave his seat to Richardson because “he had a bad cold, and he was a big guy.”


“We’d been driving around in this dinky school bus, and the seats were real uncomfortable for him; he just couldn’t get any rest at all. I can sleep anywhere, so I let him take the plane on ahead,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jennings continued, guitarist and fellow band member Tommy Allsup gave up his seat to Valens “because Ritchie needed to get some cleaning done. . . . He had a cold too, and he didn’t have any clean clothes to wear.”

The band was called the Crickets but was not Holly’s original Crickets band.