the day the music died.

February 1, 2012

as you may know, amie & i grew up in the restaurant business. our bold (and arguably, slightly crazy) parents decided to salvage old downtown buildings and open pizza restaurants. we’re not italian. we had exactly ZERO experience in the restaurant business. but for better or for worse, our parents opened pizza restaurants of which we [thankfully] grew up in…learning the ins and outs, the ups and downs, of self-employment …

one of my clearest memories of our restaurant is our jukebox. my uncle gave us an old vintage wurlitzer that mom and dad put into the restaurant as a free-play jukebox.

they loaded it with tunes from the 50’s & 60’s…chantilly lace by the big bopper, peggy sue by buddy holly, la bamba by ritchie valens, american pie by don mclean (not to mention plenty of elvis, etta james, chuck berry, del shannon (man, oh man i loved eating blue bell mint chocolate chip ice cream and singing runaway at the top of my lungs) and of course, bob wills & hank williams).

i didn’t know it then, but hearing those vinyls on that old wurlitzer developed an appreciation in amie & me for some of the most iconic songs in american music history. some of the most pivotal and pioneering songs, songwriters, and artists to ever live. and i do believe, hearing them on that old wurlitzer, all scratchy and imperfect, was the most authentic way to hear those old classics. raw and soulful.

and the song i dare say i loved the most, american pie…told the story of what has been called the first and greatest tragedy rock ‘n roll has ever suffered.

the day the music died. february 3, 1959.

the day buddy holly, ritchie valens, and the big bopper went home. the day that waylon jennings was almost on that same flight had he not traded seats with the big bopper (who asked waylon for his spot on the plane because he had come down with the flu) and rode on the bus instead.

and this song, like it’s subject matter, is timeless. it’s classic. it’s a symphony of words that read more like a poem or a story rather than a song. it pays honor and tribute to a simpler time in american history, the 50’s. it’s an 8 minute tangled web of metaphors and analogies and ambiguous connections to significant historical moments over a 2 decade time frame. it contemplates a lost era of innocence. it challenges even the most studious of music historians. plain and simple, its genius. and, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be over-dissected. it should remain a little mysterious. and it should be taken for what it is…a rockin song that pays homage to a day of major historical significance.

so this friday, the day the music died 53 years ago. let us all pay homage. because good gawsh almighty, these greats may be gone but they sure left us with some good ones. and we all know….they’re still making sweet harmony together at the biggest sock hop heaven’s ever seen.

turn up the la bamba. the chantilly lace. the peggy sue and the that’ll be the day. turn up the waylon jennings. and y’all, turn up the american pie.

P.S. look for our old jukebox in an upcoming HGTV episode!!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Cresta McGowan February 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Going to AJ’s pizza when I visited Overton was one of the highlights of my trips! 🙂 Thank you for the fond memories stirred via this blog post.

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

      thanks so much for this comment, cresta! it really means so much to hear how many memories everyone has of aj’s…of course, it was near and dear to my heart…i’m so happy it was such a place of fellowship for the big O.

      • Reply Reta Brand February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        Jolie, thanks for the memories! When I started my teaching career at OHS, AJ’s was the first restaurant in which I ate. The teachers decided to go there for our first in-service day and I was hooked from day 1. My husband Dennis and I often came to Overton (from near Tyler) in the evenings after school for the pizza buffet. I still remember how good it was! We still talk about AJ’s and the memories it holds for us. Thanks for sharing your memories.

        • Reply Jolie February 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm

          mrs. BrANDDDDDDD!!!!! hello there!!! well, if i knew my former english teacher was reading my blog, i’d be proofing it a little gooder! 🙂 thanks so much for reading and thanks so much for the comment! so great to hear from you & so great to hear aj’s is such a fond memory! hope y’all are well!!!

    • Reply Deanna February 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Ajs pizza seamed like a 100 years ago..

  • Reply sue February 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    love this blog. pretty much sums it up. american pie is one of my all time favorite songs. we taught our kids to sing it when they were small, along with ” Alice’s Restaurant” .

  • Reply Misty Robertson February 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I sure miss you, Phillip, Janie, and Amie…. AJ’s is just. It the same as it use to be, hope y’all come back to visit sometimes I would love to see you!!!

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

      thanks so much misty! we sure miss overton and all of y’all as well! great memories for sure!

  • Reply Amy D February 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Growing up in Indiana, my dad introduced me to Don McLean and American Pie and of course explained the meaning. Buddy Holly was one of his favorites. Fast forward to 2012, I’ve been living in Lubbock, Buddy’s hometown, since the mid 90’s…I wish I couldve known the music scene in Lubbock back then…

    • Reply dondi February 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you.

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

      girl, i can only imagine what the music scene was like back then…these guys were trailblazers for sure! thanks for reading! and welcome to TExAS!!!!

  • Reply Misty Evans February 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Loved rushing to AJ’s during open campus 30 minute lunches. My brother(Cody Wayne) used to love it when we ate at AJ’s, my dad used to give him quarters to play Pac Man all the while listening to his favorite song on the jukebox…..My Dingaling. Those where the days….still makes me smile.

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

      thanks for adding this memory, misty! i remember that song well too…used to make me blush every time i heard it! good times. good times.

  • Reply Adrienne Williamson February 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    LOve! Music is such a huge part of our lives. Wonderful post!

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:29 am

      thank you sooo much! thanks for reading!!

  • Reply Rochelle February 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    3 staples I remember during lunch (a couple of them your Dad had ready to go when we got there) “American Pie”, “You look so good in love”, and a song I think -“in the summertime” (?)…Anyway, that was the best music and times-we are all so fortunate to have had a great place to “hang out.”

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:35 am

      rochelle…isn’t it weird how well we all remember those songs? they define such a nostalgic time for us…a generation after their actual release…thanks so much for this comment! it means soooo much to the whole family that everyone has such great memories of aj’s. we love overton so much and all of y’all!!! XOXXO!

  • Reply Kelley Keen February 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Jolie, I LOOOOVVVEEEE reading your blogs and all the COOL memories and feelings you bring to the surface from days past !!! what a really cool upbringing (and PARENTS) you girls had!/have!! American Pie has ALWAYS been one of my favorites too….. BYE BYE MISS AMERICAN PIE…..

    • Reply Jolie February 2, 2012 at 8:36 am

      thankkkk you!!!!!! seriously…best song ever! and yes, mom and dad can keep their job as parents…they’re pretty cool! 🙂

  • Reply deb taylor February 2, 2012 at 7:40 am

    fantastic photos and great story! Thanks for the memory flashbacks!

  • Reply Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp February 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Some of my best memories of my teens is playing songs on a jukebox! Nice to relive that!

  • Reply Rene' Foust February 2, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I love that song, it takes me back to so many places of my past! Thanks for the reminder. I will be on the look out for the old jukebox!

  • Reply Glenita hayden February 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Will do miss jolie!!! Love it! And this blog!!! See y’all soon!

  • Reply Amber February 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I have always thought that American Pie should be a mandatory song for everyone to learn! It should be right up there with the National Anthem! When I was pregnant with my girls I would sing that to them, and once they were born it was what I sang to calm them down. They are 6 and 8 now and still love to listen to it! I can’t wait to see the jukebox on the show! And seriously, whenever you guys are ready to make a trip to NC to junk up our Army home or our camper trailer, let me know!!

  • Reply Joel Patterson February 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Jolie, this brings back a lot of good memories of mine. I loved coming to stay with you guys in the summer. I would brag to everyone back home that the best pizza was in Overton. You guys were my favorite cousins and Aunt Janie and Uncle Phillup were my only real examples of good parents and a loving marriage, in fact, they still influence me today in my marriage and relationship with my kids. O.K. enough mushy stuff. Proud of you girls for taking chances and inspiring others. Love, Joel

    • Reply Jolie February 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      joel…this comment got me all choked up. i have no words. love you tons.

  • Reply The Hidden List February 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hard work in the Piney Woods of ETX pays off, right? There’s so many wonderful things in Overton and Henderson…Big love to you sweet friends! XO!

    • Reply Jolie February 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      thanks soooo much kelley!! you can take the girl out of east texas…. 🙂

  • Reply Lisa Castillo February 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Goodness…American Pie brings back such wonderful memories of times gone by but never forgotten. Thanks for making me smile! See y’all soon!

  • Reply Rodney February 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    That was one of your Favorite uncles, wasn’t it?

    • Reply Jolie February 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      well, of course it was…i didn’t mention that?! miss you tons!!! XOXOX!

  • Reply Misty Marshall February 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Hey gypsy girls! Got an idea. Why not design some Buddy Holly (and Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper if your feeling creative) t-shirts to spread the love for (in my opinion) the greatest rock star of the 50s. I wear rock and roll t-shirts and I can’t find any good 50s rock star tees-at least no one other than Elvis. You gals would be the perfect designers. Rave on!

  • Reply Staci February 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Hey there!! Just wanted to let ya’ll know that I drove by the soon to be store this weekend and my boyfriend told me to watch where I was driving because I got sooooo excited!
    Last summer I had a friend come into town from Arizona. I had this great idea to take her to Junk Gypsys. Well we drove all the way from Bastrop to CS in a truck that didn’t have that great of airconditioning in the middle of July. When we pulled up to your warehouse I realized that I should have called to see if ya’ll had a storefront. LOL. Boyfriend, friend, and I all looked at eachother and I had to admit to them that I didn’t call and therefore did not know that Junk Gypsy did not have a store front. We had fun anyway on that roadtrip and many stories to tell. I will be there at your grand opening in Round Top to see the official store. You all are awsome!!

  • Reply Stacey February 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Ah yes, the simpler times of going to AJ’s during lunch. Loved that jukebox! That’s where my love for mint chocolate chip ice cream started as well. Lisa Sullivan got me to try it; then I was hooked.

  • Reply Mary Wakefield February 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Ladies,
    So glad you commented about “The Day The Music died”. Please check out The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa (just google it) and why not plan a trip to the Midwest next February for the annual Winter Dance Party that honors those MUSIC LEGENDS. It is a full 3-4 day event with people coming from all over the world. Get your motel reservations in early and plan for some cold weather, good friends, good food, maybe some beverages and Great Music. Hope to see you in 2015.

  • Reply Michelle E. Black February 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Great blog post!!

  • Leave a Reply