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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
February 03, 2011

Buddy Holly author challenges Dwyers to show fateful plane
by Deb Nicklay

CLEAR LAKE - The author of a new book about Buddy Holly has challenged the owners of the plane in which Holly died to produce the wreckage.

Gary W. Moore, author of the book, "Hey Buddy," said Jerry and Barb Dwyer of Clear Lake should allow experts to look at the wreckage of the Beech Bonanza in order to finally quell rumors about how the crash happened.

The accident killed Holly, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens, on Feb. 3, 1959, following their appearance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. Pilot Roger Peterson also died in the crash.

Moore writes that Barb Dwyer told him that the real truth about the crash will be revealed in a book Jerry Dwyer is writing about the crash.

When contacted, Barb Dwyer declined to discuss Moore's book or his recounting of their conversation, other than to say that Moore is just one of scores of authors who contact the Dwyers when writing books.

She confirmed that Jerry Dwyer was writing a book to clarify events related to that now-infamous night.

Moore will be on hand for book signings this weekend, during the annual Winter Dance Party event at Clear Lake.

During his own investigation, Moore - a pilot and former charter service owner - said he worked with a friend, a retired National Transportation Safety Board expert, to evaluate the crash.

Both he and his friend came to the same conclusion: An inexperienced pilot, a high-performance aircraft and bad weather combined to cause the crash, Moore said.

"But if Jerry knows something else ... if there is proof in the wreckage (of another cause), that's important" for Peterson's family to know, said Moore.

The final determination by the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1959 said the crash was caused by pilot error.

Moore challenges other long-held beliefs about Holly. For instance, he does not believe that Holly telephoned his wife, Maria Elena, before he left the Surf that night. A telephone booth at the Surf stands in memorial to that last conversation.

"I can't find anything that says that really happened," he said.

Moore's book is not a biography of Holly, but rather about his own journey to know Holly and his music.

Moore never knew much about the Texas rock n roller until recent years, when he first saw Holly impersonator John Mueller perform. The book outlines his quest, his research and the relationships established with people who knew Holly's music, or had met Holly.

Of interest to some might be Moore's interview with musician Don McLean, whose mega-hit, "American Pie" introduced the phrase, "the day the music died" and its reference to Holly's death. McLean performed in 1994 at the Surf.

McLean claims, according to Moore, that Buddy Holly's fame faded quickly following his death, but that McLean's song brought Holly back into the public's consciousness.

"Because of 'American Pie,' Buddy is back where he should be," McLean was said to have told Moore.

Photograph courtesy of Globe Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2016

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