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Subject: Re: Dion's Version of the Coin Toss

Rick Peters
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Date Posted: Sat February 06, 2016 10:56:17
In reply to: Dan D. 's message, "Re: Dion's Version of the Coin Toss" on Fri February 05, 2016 15:30:04

Dion's 1988 autobiography, "The Wanderer," (p. 89): "The night before the Fargo, North Dakota date, he'd (Buddy) worked out a way to get into town early, wash his clothes and get a few hours in a real bed. But he needed some others to share the expense and that's what kept me on the bus. It sounded good, but it would cost me $35. That was a month in the old place, a lot of money, I remember thinking. So in the end, I decided to stay, to save a buck. Holly rounded up Richie (sic), the Big Bopper, and a pilot, and they went down somewhere in that frozen darkness."

There's NO mention whatsoever of a coin toss. When you're writing your autobiography, spinning a vivid story of your life, wouldn't the anecdote of a coin toss sealing Ritchie's fate be an essential part of that story? So no, Dion wasn't telling the coin toss story in 1988. I'm not sure when the first revision of Dion's story happened, but I think it was after the 40th anniversary in 1999 when Tommy, Waylon, and even Bob Hale's version of the coin toss story got a little more attention.

Dion wrote a few songs, but most of his bigger musical successes are interpretations of other's works. Essentially, he's a storyteller. My theory is that someone asked Dion about a coin toss, he inserted himself into the story. Storytellers often have little problem letting the truth get in the way of a good story. Storytellers, entertainers, people who have enjoyed a great deal of success, it would only be natural that they have an ego. Ever try to correct someone with an ego, or accuse them of lying? When cornered, they often dig in their heels, a stubbornly defend their story, confident that their stature or fame or reputation will turn away any doubters.

People say, "Why would Dion lie? He's a hall of famer, his reputation as a rock-n-roll legend is unquestioned. What does he have to gain by lying?" Just because Dion's need to lie doesn't make sense to you doesn't keep the lie from happening. Some people can't help themselves. The story gets him attention around this time of year, and if the interviewer is contacting him about the coin toss, the resulting news story can't air or be printed without a lengthy recap of Dion's past glories.

Remember, the Buddy Holly Story and La Bamba movies and many brief summaries of the Winter Dance Party, and especially the plane crash, made NO mention that Dion was a headliner on that tour. What better way to shoehorn yourself into the legendary story than to create this "survivor's guilt" angle by hijacking the coin toss and saying it was you that lost your seat to Ritchie Valens?

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Re: Dion's Version of the Coin TossDan D.Sat February 06, 2016 17:53:58

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