10 Iconic Final Concerts Plus The End Of Beatlemania
3. Buddy Holly
Final Performance: February 2, 1959
The young phenomenon known as rock and roll received its first harsh dose of reality following the final performance of Buddy Holly and the Crickets in February 1959. Holly was in the midst of headlining a three-week Midwest tour billed as the Winter Dance Party when the plane he was traveling in crashed in Clear Lake, Iowa. Along with Holly, the crash killed fellow performers Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper and would later be immortalized in Don McLean's song "American Pie" as the Day the Music Died.
Holly's final setlist at the Surf Ballroom included his classics "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be the Day" and closed with a cover of Little Richard's "Ready Teddy."
2. Sex Pistols
Final Performance: January 14, 1978
The Sex Pistols' entire career together lasted less than three years, but holy shit, did they ever pack more into those three years than any band before or since. The first true punk band, the Pistols managed to upend the entire idea of rock and roll without much more than a small handful of indelible tunes and a few safety pins. Suddenly, rock was dangerous again.
If the Pistols burned hot, they burned out quick. The final date of their only American tour, at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, was supposed to be a crowning achievement--their biggest show ever. As it turned out, it was their last. For reasons endlessly detailed elsewhere, the band simply wasn't getting along anymore, and bassist Sid Vicious was deep in the throes of a fatal heroin addiction. Despite claims to the contrary, though, that final show sounded pretty damn incredible, despite the miserable circumstances.