The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


Weeklong series of events to be announced soon

CLEAR LAKE (December 11, 2008) – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, along with the Surf Ballroom & Museum, will honor the 50th anniversary of the Winter Dance Party with a weeklong series of events beginning on Wednesday, January 28 that will culminate in a tribute concert at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens played their final concert. The tribute will feature an all-star lineup including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash, Tommy Allsup, the Crickets, Bobby Vee, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely and Wanda Jackson. SIRIUS XM Radio host Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow will be the emcee and Sandra Boynton and Sir Tim Rice will participate in the tribute portion of the concert.  Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 50 Winters Later tribute concert will take place the evening of Monday, February 2 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. General admission tickets will go on sale this Monday, December 15 for $85. They can be purchased at http://www.50winterslater.com or by calling the Surf Ballroom’s box office at (641) 357-6151. A limited number of $1,000 VIP packages are available. Please call (216) 515-1207 for details.

“50 Winters Later is about the music and the legacy of Buddy, Ritchie and The Bopper. The artists who will participate in the week’s events will pay homage to these three stars who influenced music so deeply that musicians and songwriters continue to this day to be inspired and attribute aspects of their musical careers to them.  It’s going to be an extraordinary show – to be in the Surf where these pioneers played live decades ago is magical in itself,” stated Shane Cooney, entertainment director for the Surf Ballroom.

“For one week we will focus on the extraordinary lives and legacies of three men who forever left their mark on rock and roll history and American society,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “It will be a poignant and memorable experience honoring this pivotal watershed cultural event.”

For the complete weeklong series of events and updated information about the tribute concert and more, please visit: http://www.50winterslater.com.

It was at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” played their final concert on February 2, 1959.  Later that night after boarding a plane bound for North Dakota, three of rock and roll’s brightest stars fell to the earth, a day immortalized in Don McLean’s 1971 hit song “American Pie” as “the day the music died.”

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its national educational programs, like 50 Winters Later.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  On Wednesdays the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (60+), $13 for children (9-12) and children under 8 and Museum members are free. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK.

About the Surf Ballroom & Museum

The Surf Ballroom & Museum is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, maintain and manage the historic Surf Ballroom property as a center utilized to enhance the quality of life in the North Iowa area by providing cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities.  Additionally, the organization is committed to both the promotion and enhancement of the museum’s quality to ensure that the Surf Ballroom’s display of musical history is available to future generations.

The Surf is open Monday through Friday year-round from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and additionally from June through September Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  Admission to the Surf Ballroom & Museum is a suggested donation of $5.  With a capacity of 2,100, the Surf also operates as a concert venue with events scheduled regularly. For additional information about the Surf Ballroom, please call 641.357.6151 or visit http://www.surfballroom.com.

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Brief Bios of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper

Born Charles Hardin Holley in 1936, Buddy Holly was a rock pioneer who has influenced such icons as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Elvis Costello. Holly formed The Crickets in Lubbock, Texas and later opened for a young Elvis Presley before The Crickets hit big with their #1 single “That’ll Be The Day” in 1957. Buddy Holly was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine listed him as #13 of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in 2008 Rolling Stone magazine listed him as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

In the short 17 years of his life, Ritchie Valens became a rock and roll icon with his renowned songs “La Bamba” and “Donna.” As one of the first Latino rockers, Valens has notably influenced such artists as Los Lobos, the Beach Boys and Los Lonely Boys. Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

While working as a deejay for KTRM in Beaumont, Texas, Jiles Perry Richardson Jr. coined the name “The Big Bopper,” an alias he would be known by for the rest of his life and long after. In 1957, The Big Bopper broadcast for six days straight establishing a world record for continuous radio broadcasting.  Richardson was also a gifted songwriter who penned lyrics for George Jones and Johnny Preston. “White Lightning” became Jones’ first #1 country hit and Preston’s “Running Bear” also climbed to #1.