It was 1947 and Tommy Allsup was a sophomore in high school when he organized a Western-style band called the Oklahoma Swing Billies. Following graduation, he became a member of Johnnie Lee Wills & All the Boys. They performed in many venues including Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. Allsup met Buddy Holly in 1958 which led to the famous coin flip for a seat on an airplane in the winter of 1959—also known as “the day the music died.”
Voices of Oklahoma recorded Tommy’s oral history September 8, 2011. The recording was made at the home of music historian, Guy Logsdon, who also participated in the interview. Tommy knew how to tell a story and he was at his best for this recording.
He was 85 when he died January 11, 2017. Chapters 8 and 9 feature the coin flip story. http://www.voicesofoklahoma.com/interview/allsup-tommy/
Share with Tommy’s fans and keep listening to Oklahoma’s oral history website.