Buddy Holly’s Plane Was Brought Down by His Own Gun
That’ll be the day.
Buddy Holly did carry a gun, and it was with him on the plane, although likely in its usual place in Holly’s shaving kit rather than on his person during the flight. Being from Texas, and being responsible for the Crickets’ cash, Holly carried the gun mostly for protection against robbery, although in at least one instance he did have to display it in order to convince a reluctant promoter to turn over the band’s earnings.
Holly’s gun was discovered in the field where the plane had gone down a couple of months after the crash and was rumored to have had one shot fired. That led to various conspiracy theories; there had been some sort of airborne struggle ending with the gun being fired, Buddy had flipped out because of the bad weather and demanded that the pilot land right now, the gun was accidentally discharged when Buddy and the Big Bopper tried to exchange seats. There was a bullet hole in the back of the pilot’s seat. No, there were actually two — or three — bullet holes in the plane’s fuselage.
In fact, the gun had been fired, once, by the farmer who discovered it to “see if it still worked.” There had been no signs of gunplay in the wreck. No bullet holes in the fuselage, no gunshot wounds to the bodies.
In 2007 the Bopper’s son, Jay Richardson, had his father’s body exhumed and examined by a forensic anthropologist, more due to the fact that the Bopper’s body had been found several yards away from the wreck and the other bodies than in a belief that there had been an aerial shootout. Maybe J.P. Richardson had survived the crash and had been trying to reach help before succumbing to his wounds? But it was found he had had been tossed from the plane and died on impact, with almost every bone in his body fractured. “There was no foul play,” the examiner reported.
Fun fact: While Bob Dylan saw Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens two nights before the music died, he didn’t see Link Wray on the Winter Dance Party tour, as he’s sometimes claimed.