Carl Bunch, drummer with Buddy Holly on his ill-fated “Winter Dance” party tour, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 71. Carl had played with Ronnie Smith and the Poor Boys out of Clovis, New Mexico, which brought him to the attention of Buddy Holly. It was Carl who suggested Ronnie be brought aboard as a vocalist to replace Buddy Holly with the “Crickets” after Buddy’s fatal plane crash.

Carl was hospitalized in Duluth, Minnesota on January 31, 1959, with frostbite and was still there February 3rd when he heard the news about Buddy’s death. He later joined the Army and, after his discharge, worked as a drummer for Hank Williams Jr. He also worked as a limo driver, a chaplain and a radio host but eventually earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology. In recent years he had battled diabetes and was nearly blind.