Buddy Holly – Singer – Songwriter

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Charles Hardin Holley was born in Lubbock, Texas on September 7, 1936. He was always called “Buddy” by his family. His older brothers taught him how to play the guitar, banjo and the lap steel guitar.

Buddy won a local talent contest at the age of five by singing a song, which was popular in the early 1940′s, “Have You Ever Gone Sailing (Down The River Of Memories)”.

Holley met Bob Montgomery in 1952 and the two formed up as “Buddy and Bob”, singing harmony duets, with a bluegrass influence, at nearby clubs and talent shows.

In 1955,  Holley saw Elvis Presley perform in Lubbock. Seeing Elvis had a major influence in the music that Buddy was currently playing. He liked the rockabilly style with its strong acoustic rhythms and bass.Holley, Bob Montgomery and Larry Williams opened the program for Elvis on October 15, 1955 in Lubbock. A Nashville talent scout spotted him, and was impressed as he watched their performance. He then opened for Bill Haley & His Comets at a local show, where his conversion to rock continued.

In February of 1956, Decca Records signed him to a contract but misspelled his name. Holly kept  this new moniker for his musical career.

Holly then formed the Crickets, consisting of himself (lead guitar and vocals), Niki Sullivan (guitar), Joe B. Maudlin (bass) and Jerry Allison (drums). They had three recording sessions in Nashville but Buddy was allowed very little input. Decca released two of the singles, “Blue Days, Black Nights” and “Modern Don Juan”. On January 23, 1957 Decca notified Holly, that his contract would not be renewed.

Buddy hired Norman Petty as manager and the band began recording in Perry’s studios in New Mexico. “That’ll Be The Day” was released on May 27, 1957 as a single with only “The Crickets” on the label because of some legalities with Decca. Decca dropped all rights, when the song became a hit.

On September 23, 1957 “That’ll Be The Day” topped the Billboard US “Best Sellers in Stores” chart. The Crickets appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on December, 1957 performing “That’ll Be The Day” and “Peggy Sue”. They had a second appearance on January 26, 1958 singing “Oh, Boy!”

Dick Clark, the host of American Bandstand and the primetime TV series Saturday Night Beechnut Show, had Buddy Holly appear on each of these programs. In August of 1957 and October of 1958 on American Bandstand and also in October of 1958 on Dick Clark’s primetime TV series.

Holly met Maria Elena Santiago in June of 1958. She was a receptionist for a New York publisher. He later asked her to have dinner with him, where he proposed marriage. They married in Lubbock on August 15, 1958.

Buddy was consumed with the New York music/recording/publishing/scene, while the other members of the band just wanted to go back home. So, the group broke up in late 1958.

Buddy was having some difficulty getting his royalties from Petty his manager, who was depositing the money into his own company’s account. Holly hired an attorney, but the litigation  froze all accounts. With a severe lack of funds, Holly was forced to go back on the road. He secured a spot in The Winter Dance Party, a three-week tour across the midwest, beginning on January 23, 1959. The other notable performers were: Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The “Big Bopper” Richardson. Holly put a band together consisting of Tommy Allsup (guitar), Waylon Jennings (bass) and Carl Bunch (drums) and billed them as the crickets.

On February 2, 1959 after a performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly, along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson chartered a small plane from Mason City to fly to Moorhead, Minnesota, the next stop on the tour. The pilot took off in a snowstorm and crashed five miles after takeoff killing all onboard. The pilot wasn’t cleared to fly on instruments only.

Charles Hardin Holley (Born September 7, 1936 – Died February 3, 1959) Described by critic Bruce Eder as “The single most influential creative force in early rock and roll. His works and innovations inspired and influenced contemporary and later musicians, notably the Beatles, Elvis Costello, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan and exerted a profound influence on popular music.

Source: Wikipedia

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