Published: 03rd February 2022
What happened on February 3: Paper currency comes into vogue and the Day the Music Died
Coins were well known, but not paper currency. How did the people back then take to it? Also, why is this day also known as The Day the Music Died?
Imagine you are a late 17th-century soldier fighting in French Quebec, Canada, on behalf of the Government of Massachusetts Bay Colony, USA. And for the first time in the world, well, you wouldn't know that it's the first time yet, you are told that you would be paid in paper money. Not the pine tree shilling or Spanish milled coin you were used to being paid in. Would you accept?
Now imagine you are part of the Government of Massachusetts Bay Colony with no coins in the treasury to pay your own troops who are fighting a war. They are on the verge of mutiny. Would paper money be a reality?
And on February 3, 1690, paper money was issued. To be honest, it was more of a bill of credit or IOU (an informal document acknowledging someone owes you something). As many as 40,000 pounds worth of paper money were issued and the experiment was a success! The USA was surely not the first to start this concept, China had tried it back in the 7th century, but it really took off after the 1690 incident.
Music met its maker
February 3, 1959, is literally known as The Day the Music Died. That's because Buddy Holly, American singer-songwriter and central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll; guitarist Ritchie Valens and DJ The Big Bopper, namely, JP Richardson, got on a plane that crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa. They were on their Winter Dance Party tour when this unfortunate incident happened.
What is important to note is that all three were at a point in their career where they were poised to create history. Buddy Holly is a musician who is constantly compared to the great Elvis Presley while Ritchie Valens met his death at a time when he was only getting started, he was just eight months into his career as a musician, who is best known for La Bamba. Whereas The Big Bopper was best known for his compositions like Chantilly Lace and White Lightning.
The sweet life?
It's not just for any reason that La Dolce Vita (Italian for The Good Life) became one of the greatest movies ever made. Premiering in Italy on February 3, 1960, this comedy-drama is about a journalist who writes for gossip magazine and his futile search for love and happiness. Superficially that is. On a much deeper level, is a satire sprinkled with plenty of visual metaphors. This and many other reasons won it the Palme d'Or in 1960 and perhaps they were the same reasons that led to its condemnation by the Vatican and subsequent ban as well.
Ironically, now La Dolce Vita, the phrase, is used to describe a somewhat vain life.