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The Day the Music Died - BUDDY HOLLY (1959)
The Day the Music Died - BUDDY HOLLY (1959) Photo

Buddy Holly

September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959 (22 years old)

Buddy Holly played rock and roll for only a few short years, but the wealth of material he recorded in that time made a major and lasting impact on popular music. Holly was an innovator who wrote his own material and was among the first to exploit such advanced studio techniques as double-tracking. He pioneered and popularized the now-standard rock-band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. In his final months, he even began experimenting with orchestration. Holly’s catalog of songs includes such standards of the rock and roll canon as “Rave On,” “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” Oh Boy!” and “Maybe Baby.” Although Holly lacked the arresting sexuality of Elvis Presley, he nonetheless cut an engaging, charismatic figure with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and vocal hiccup. His creative self-reliance and energetic, inspired craftsmanship prefigured the coming wave of rock and rollers in the Sixties. Holly was a professed influence on the Beatles and Hollies. Even the Rolling Stones had their first major British hit with Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”

He was born Charles Hardin Holley (later amended to “Holly") on September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas. He learned to play guitar, piano and fiddle at an early age. After high school, he formed the Western and Bop Band, a country-oriented act that performed regularly on a Lubbock radio station and opened for acts that came through town. After being noticed by a talent scout, Holly was signed to Decca in early 1956, recording demos and singles for the label in Nashville under the name Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes. Back home, Holly opened a show at the Lubbock Youth Center for Elvis Presley, an event that hastened his conversion from country and western to rock and roll. ("We owe it all to Elvis,” he later said).

On February 25, 1957, Holly and a revised band lineup, now dubbed the Crickets, recorded “That’ll Be the Day” at the Clovis, New Mexico, studio of producer Norman Petty. The effortless, upbeat rocker won them a contract with the Coral and Brunswick labels. Later that year it became a Number One pop hit and even rose to Number Two on the R&B charts. The terms of Holly’s arrangement with his record labels, negotiated by producer/manager Petty, were somewhat unusual. Releases alternated on Coral and Brunswick, with those on the former label credited to Buddy Holly and the latter to the Crickets. Between August 1957 and August 1958, Holly and the Crickets charted seven Top 40 singles.

In October 1958, Holly split both with the Crickets and with Petty, moving to Greenwich Village and marrying Maria Elena Santiago, to whom he proposed on their first date. Because of legal and financial problems engendered by his breakup with Petty, Holly reluctantly agreed to perform on the Winter Dance Party, an ill-advised bus tour of the Midwest in the winter of 1959. Following a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a private plane to the next stop on the tour, Moorhead, Minnesota. Two other performers, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, joined him. Their plane left the Mason City, Iowa, airport at 1 a.m. and crashed in a cornfield a few minutes later, killing all aboard. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old at the time of the crash – an event immortalized in Don McLean’s “American Pie” as “the day the music died."”

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| Closed on 02/01/14 at 05:00PM
FanIQ Pts? No | Locker Room, Music | Multiple Choice Opinion Poll
7 Fans 
71%a. Liked his music
14%b. Liked a few songs
14%c. Didn't care for his music
0%d. Never heard his music

2 Comments | Sorted by Most Recent First | Red = You Disagreed
Vote for your favorite comments. Fans decide the Top Comment (3+ votes) and also hide poor quality comments (4+ votes).
#1 | 295 days ago

i don't think i could name a song of his, but! there's a part of the story of his death that gave me the willies. i copied and pasted it from a site because i don't wanna get it wrong:

Legend: Waylon Jennings put a curse on Buddy Holly, leading to his death in the plane crash that took his life.
Verdict: True, but only if you believe in curses.
While history remembers the trio of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper being killed in a plane crash on “The Day the Music Died,” most people don’t know that future outlaw country superstar Waylon Jennings was also a member of that touring party, playing bass in Holly’s band. Holly had chartered a plane to take him and the band to the next show, and being a nice guy, Jennings gave up his seat on it to the Big Bopper, getting on the bus instead. While the band members figured out their travel arrangements, Holly chided Jennings, “I hope your ol’ bus freezes up!” to which Jennings replied, equally jokey “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes!” Which it did.
Thinking he’d cursed Holly, Jennings blamed himself for the crash and carried the guilt with him the rest of his life. But words and curses don’t make planes crash, and in this case, it was pilot error and bad weather, not the ill-advised joke of Waylon Jennings that sent Holly to his death. Jennings had nothing to do with the Day the Music Died, other than surviving it.
waylon's issues with drugs and alcohol either began or significantly escalated shortly after do to his guilt.
#2 | 295 days ago

 To have been so young, his impact on the music industry was amazing. What a shame it was to lose such a talent at the age of 22.
Liked his music  

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