The Day The Music Died – Almost

In the late 1950s most kids feared — and parents hoped — that this new rock ‘n roll music was a quickly passing fade. Events of the day added to this speculation.

Little Richard Leaves Rock n Roll

1957, Oct – After seven top 20 hits, 25 year old Little Richard quits his successful rock career, claiming he had been warned of his own damnation in a vision. Also troubled by an excessive lifestyle and embittered by song-royalty conflicts with his record company, January 1958, he enters Oakwood Theological College in Huntsville, Alabama. Oct 1962 he begins a comeback tour in Britain. In November, he shares the bill at Hamburg’s Star Club with the Beatles. (Among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986)

Elvis Drafted

1958, Mar – 23 year old Elvis Presley, accompanied by his parents and a group of family and friends, reported to the Memphis Draft Board. From there, he and twelve other recruits were bused to Kennedy Veterans Memorial Hospital where Elvis was assigned army serial number 53 310 761. After being processed and sworn in, Elvis said his good-byes and Private Presley was bused with the others from Memphis to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas for further processing. Discharged March 1960. (Among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986)

Jerry Lee Marries 13 Year Old

1958, May – It’s learned that 23 year old Jerry Lee Lewis had married his 13 year old cousin. Radio, with the exception of Alan Freed, quit playing his records. Myra Gale Brown divorced him in 1970. (Among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986)

Buddy Holly Killed

1959, Feb – 23 year old Buddy Holly dies, on the way to Fargo, in an Iowa plane crash. Along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. (Among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986)

Chuck Berry Goes To Prison

1959, Dec – 33 year old Chuck Berry charged with violation of the Mann Act. This federal statue forbid the transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. Berry was convicted to five years in prison and fined $5,000. Released Oct 1963. (Among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986)

December 23, 1959…Chuck Berry was arrested in St. Louis after Janice Norine, a 14-year old Apache girl he’d driven in from Mexico was revealed to be a prostitute. Berry claimed she was hired to be a hatcheck girl at his club. Under the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport a minor across state line for immoral purposes, Berry was sentenced to five years in prison. The charges were eventually dropped after the judge allegedly made racist remarks.

Eddie Cochran Killed

1960, April – Cochran died aged 21 after a road accident, whilst traveling in a taxi in Chippenham, Wiltshire, during his British tour, having just performed at Bristol’s Hippodrome theatre. Though his best-known songs were released during his lifetime, more of his songs were released posthumously. In 1987, Cochran was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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