When Buddy Holly died, his pregnant wife first got the news through the TV, and the shock caused her miscarriage, leading to the policy requiring families to be informed before media can release the victims’ names.
Holly’s pregnant wife, María Elena, watched the first reports of his death on television. A widow after six months of marriage, she miscarried the following day, attributed to “psychological trauma”.
His mother, who heard the news on the radio in Lubbock, Texas, collapsed. Because of María Elena’s miscarriage, the authorities, in the months following, implemented a policy against announcing victims’ names until after families are informed. María Elena Holly did not attend the funeral, and has never visited the gravesite. She later told the Avalanche-Journal: “In a way, I blame myself. I was not feeling well when he left. I was two weeks pregnant, and I wanted Buddy to stay with me, but he had scheduled that tour. It was the only time I wasn’t with him. And I blame myself because I know that, if only I had gone along, Buddy never would have gotten into that airplane.”
Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup continued the tour for two more weeks, featuring Jennings as the lead singer. Meanwhile, Holly’s funeral was held on February 7, 1959, at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock.
The service was officiated by Ben D. Johnson, who had presided at the Hollys’ wedding just months earlier. The pallbearers were Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan, Bob Montgomery, Sonny Curtis, and Phil Everly. Holly’s body was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery. His headstone carries the correct spelling of his surname (Holley) and a carving of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.
The first song to commemorate the musicians was Three Stars by Eddie Cochran. The accident was later the subject of the 1971 Don McLean song American Pie. The song dubbed it in popular culture as “The Day The Music Died”, which for McLean, symbolized the “loss of innocence” of the early rock-and-roll generation. The accident was depicted in Buddy Holly’s 1978 biographical film The Buddy Holly Story, as well as in Ritchie Valens’ 1987 biopic La Bamba.