Buddy Holly

Real Name:
Charles Hardin Holley
American Rock & Roll performer and songwriter. See The Crickets (2).
Born: September 07, 1936 in Lubbock, TX, USA.
Died: February 03, 1959 just outside of Mason City, IA, USA at 01:05am in a plane crash along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson alias The Big Bopper.

Buddy Holly is often listed as one of the pioneers and trailblazers of rock and roll, having inspired several musicians and bands such as The Beatles, The Hollies, The Beach Boys The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. His band, The Crickets, served as the template which many rock and roll groups throughout the 1960s and 1970s used to construct their lineup. Buddy's guitar playing and singing was well complimented by the percussion provided by The Crickets' drummer, Jerry Allison, further backed by bassist Joe Mauldin and briefly by rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan. Although Buddy had been a professional artist since at least 1954, the time that encompassed his fame was less than 18 months, between late 1957 and early 1959, when he tragically had his life cut short in a fatal air crash along with fellow artists Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. Though his popularity has waned in recent decades, Buddy's influence on rock and roll as a genre is still recognized by several musicians, music historians and his dedicated fanbase.

Buddy Holly was born as Charles Hardin Holley on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock Texas to Lawrence Odell "L.O." Holley Sr. and Ella Pauline Holley. He was the youngest of his four siblings which included Lawrence Odell "Larry" Holley Jr., Travis Don Holley and Patricia Lou Holley. His mother, Ella, jokingly stated Charles Hardin was too big of a name for such a small boy and gave him the nickname "Buddy", which she thought suited him better. Buddy was fond of his nickname and would continue to use it throughout his life, save for unusual occasions, such as when he was credited as a songwriter on select compositions. Buddy's initial exposure to music came from his family, which played instruments and sang songs during their spare time. In particular, Buddy was fond of his older brothers Larry and Travis, who sparked his interest in the guitar as his instrument of choice. Larry and Travis returned the respect and admiration to their little brother, allowing him to join them on stage during a talent show, albeit greasing the strings of Buddy's violin so no one could hear him play and make fun of them. Further external influences included African American musicians, including an old shoe polisher across the street from Buddy's school. Buddy would often spend time with the older gentleman, learning how to play blues riffs on his guitar.

Buddy's original ambition was to be a country and western swing artist, long before rock and roll was recognized as a genre, with Hank Williams being among his early idols. In 1949, when Buddy was 13, he made his earliest known recording on a wire recorder machine, covering Hank Snow's "My Two Timin' Woman". While attending Junior High, Buddy became friends with fellow classmate Bob Montgomery. The two formed the country and western duo "Buddy and Bob", performing around Lubbock and the surrounding region at local venues, as well as periodic appearances on radio stations such as Lubbock's KDAV. Together the duo produced songs such as "Gotta Get You Near Me Blues", "Queen Of The Ballroom" and "Memories". Buddy and Bob continued performing after graduating from Lubbock High School in 1955. During this time, rising rock and roll star Elvis Presley came through Lubbock multiple times on concert tours, with Buddy and other local musicians opening for him or providing backing. Buddy and Elvis got along well, with Elvis retaining fond memories of Buddy long after his passing. Elvis, along with rock and roll sensation Bill Haley And His Comets as well as country and rockabilly artist Johnny Cash inspired Buddy to begin taking up the rock and roll sound.

By 1956, Buddy had mainly lost interest in performing country music, focusing more on developing his rock and roll skills. As a result, Buddy hired percussionist and former school mate from Lubbock High, Jerry Allison, to become the new drummer for his band, along with young guitarist and future country singer, Sonny Curtis. Buddy and Bob's original bass player, Larry Welborn, was replaced by Don Guess. Later that year, Buddy, Bob and their band traveled to Nashville after Buddy had been given a recording contract by Decca. However, in the letter addressed to Buddy by Decca offering the contract, his last name Holley was misspelled as "Holly". Rather than attempt to correct the mistake, Buddy began using the misspelling in place of his correctly spelled surname. Upon arrival in Nashville, the recording executives and producers billed Buddy and his band as "Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes". Throughout a large part of the recording session however, Jerry was not allowed to provide percussion by the producers and Bob Montgomery did not participate, other than in songwriting or consulting, displaying the growing creative divide between himself and Buddy. During the Decca sessions, Buddy and Jerry wrote "That'll Be The Day" after watching the western drama "The Searchers", starring John Wayne. The pair were annoyed however, when the Decca producers forced Buddy and his troupe to play the song in a similar fashion to western swing. With the results of the recording session deemed unsuccessful by executives, Decca did not renew the contract with Buddy and the rest of the band, including a clause which disallowed Buddy from recording any new music under his name for the next five years.

Following the less than ideal Nashville session, Bob Montgomery officially went his separate ways from Buddy, preferring to remain in country music, with Don Guess and Sonny Curtis also diverging. This left Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison together alone. Unwilling to give up, Buddy decided to try his luck with Jerry at a third party recording studio run by Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty had produced and recorded the single Party Doll by Buddy Knox, which was close if not the exact sound Buddy was looking for in terms of his own music. A search for a replacement musicians turned up rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan and bassist Joe Mauldin, who was often referred to simply as "Joe B." In 1957, recording trials with Norman Petty proved successful, leading to Norman agreeing to sign Buddy and his band on as clients, with a secondary agreement taking place, making Norman the band's new manager. "That'll Be The Day" was re-recorded as originally planned alongside "Looking For Someone To Love". Both were intended as the A and B side to a potential single. To get around the Decca clause, Norman suggested Buddy and his band come up with a name for their entire group. Being a fan of the rock and roll group The Spiders (2), Buddy suggested they use the name of a bug as the name for their band as well. After turning down "The Beetles", Jerry and Buddy decided on "The Crickets", largely due to the insect being associated with music and being a common sight around western Texas. With the artist of the potential single now listed as The Crickets (2), Norman sent the single to Murray Deutch, a music executive for Coral Records in New York. Both Deutch and Coral president Bob Thiele agreed to take on the single and release it under the Brunswick Records label as That'll Be The Day / I'm Lookin' For Someone To Love. The original master tapes sent to Coral were used right off the bat, rather than request a new version. The single quickly rose on the charts becoming one of the top hits in the United States, later gaining further popularity in Europe and Australia as well.

Coral Records and by extension, Brunswick, were coincidentally subsidiaries of Decca. Rather than sue Buddy however, Decca executives, realizing the error they had made with Buddy less than a year earlier, nullified all clauses of the original contract and re-negotiated a new one with Buddy to release select singles under his own name on the Coral label, the most successful of which was Everyday / Peggy Sue. Buddy and The Crickets followed up the success of Peggy Sue and That'll Be The Day with Oh, Boy! / Not Fade Away, Words Of Love / Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues and [Invalid Release] during the remainder of 1957, followed by [Invalid Release] and Rave On / Take Your Time in 1958. Rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan quit the band early in 1958, due to being unable to handle the pressure of constant public performances and tight tour schedules, though not before the group's first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in December 1957. When asked about it in interviews, Buddy, respecting his friend's decision, simply stated Niki had gone home to Lubbock to finish school. Buddy and The Crickets also toured England and Australia in 1958, the former of which included an appearance on the popular variety show "Saturday Night At The London Palladium", where The Crickets performed "Oh Boy" live in front of a large audience and across British television. Among the television spectators were a young John Lennon and Paul McCartney as well as future rock and roll musician Graham Nash. Later in 1958, Buddy began dating Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist at Coral Records, marrying her in Lubbock a short while afterwards. The couple honeymooned with Jerry Allison and his new bride, Peggy Sue Allison (nee Gerron), whom was the inspiration behind the earlier hit Buddy and the Crickets had written and performed. During recording sessions in Clovis with famed saxaphone player King Curtis, which produced "Reminiscing", Buddy organized a recording session paid for with his own money for his close friend and KLLL radio DJ, Waylon Jennings. With Waylon taking lead vocals, King and Buddy backing with guitar and saxaphone as well as The Roses providing backing vocals, the Brunswick single Jole Blon was cut. This was only one of a handful of instances where Waylon and Buddy performed together as well as being the first record ever released under Waylon Jennings' name. Waylon and Buddy also collaborated on writing the song "You're The One" in 30 minutes while on air live on KLLL, later performing the song on the program, with Waylon and Slim Corbin providing ham-boning to back Buddy's singing and accoustic guitar playing.

Following rising tensions and a strained relationship between the Crickets' manager Norman Petty and Buddy, Norman was fired as Buddy's manager, further leading to him splitting up with the Crickets, who elected to stay in Lubbock and Clovis with Norman. With Buddy's departure, the Crickets hired on Tommy Allsup as their new rhythm guitarist, with Sonny Curtis returning to the band as the new lead guitarist and David Box becoming the new lead singer. Jerry Allison later stated during interviews that he and Joe Mauldin deeply regretted not staying with Buddy when he went to New York. Throughout the rest of 1958, Buddy, now a full time husband, mainly focused on producing records for other artists such as Lou Giordano for Brunswick and Coral, as well as experimenting with crooning and orchestral arrangements, covering Paul Anka's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore", along with a rendition of Norman Petty's own song "Moondreams", as well as "Raining In My Heart" by Felice Bryant and Boudleaux Bryant, and finally Buddy's own composition, "True Love Ways", written in tribute to Maria Elena.

With Maria Elena becoming pregnant and being unable to work, along with mounting bills and lack of revenue (part of which was due to Norman freezing Buddy's earnings from his time at Clovis), Buddy's finances were running dangerously low. In a desperate attempt to provide income to his developing family, Buddy reluctantly agreed to join the Winter Dance Party tour, scheduled for late January and early February 1959. With the Crickets in dispose with Norman, Buddy quickly hired a temporary band to back him, which included Crickets member Tommy Allsup on rhythm guitar, Carl Bunch on drums and close friend and fellow musician Waylon Jennings on electric bass. Waylon had never played bass before and as a result, was ill prepared for his role. During an interview with the BBC, songwriter Shari Sheeley claimed fellow rock and roll singer Eddie Cochran was originally slated to join the tour and had talked Buddy into joining, before Cochran had to cancel at the last minute for an unplanned television appearance. Whether this was true or not, Eddie and Buddy were close acquaintances, with Buddy's death heavily affecting Cochran for the remainder of his life, until his own premature death in a taxi cab near Bath, England on April 17, 1960. Buddy and his "Replacement Crickets" were joined however, by fellow popular artist Dion with his group The Bellmonts along with Beaumont, Texas DJ, songwriter and country artist J.P. Richardson performing as his persona The Big Bopper and rising rock and roll star Ritchie Valens from Pocoima, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

The tour was heavily mismanaged, with the destinations and times causing most of the performances to be geographically far away from each other, chronologically. Furthermore, the heaters on the tour buses used refused to work and on one occasion, the bus stalled en-route to the next venue while driving through Wisconsin. The tour members often had to burn newspapers, wear extra layers of clothing and huddle close to each other for warmth. During one of theses incidents, Carl Bunch's feet suffered from severe frostbite, nearly resulting in amputation. With Bunch at the hospital, the tour was left without a dedicated drummer. Tour managers not providing any help, Buddy came up with the temporary solution of playing drums himself when the other performers were on stage, with Ritchie Valens agreeing to act as Buddy's temporary drummer in exchange. On February 2, 1959, the tour arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on one of the many scheduled performances. During this performance, Buddy decided to forgo the next bus trip, having had enough of the terrible conditions, and working with ballroom owner Caroll Anderson, chartered an aircraft from local aviation firm, Dwyer Flying Services, in adjoining town Mason City. Buddy offered a seat on the plane initially to Dion, for 36 dollars, which the latter artist turned down, not liking the idea of flying in cold weather and viewing 36 dollars as an unlucky amount due to it being the rent charge his parents had always fought over when he was younger. Instead, Buddy gave the two other seats on the plane to fellow bandmates, Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup.

Having caught wind of the aircraft charter, J.P. Richardson kindly asked Waylon if he would be willing to trade his seat on the airplane with him, as Richardson was suffering from a debilitating cold and needed to rest before the next performance on the tour. Waylon kindly agreed, which resulted in Buddy teasing Waylon over a supposed fear of flying. The two shot mock insults at each other, with Buddy telling Waylon, "I hope your bus freezes up", while Waylon retorted with "I hope your plane crashes!" Waylon regretted this comment for most of his life, adding to his survivor's guilt following the crash. Similarly, Tommy was constantly pestered by Ritchie Valens after the concert to give him his seat on the plane. Having had enough, Tommy flipped a coin, with the winner taking the seat. Ritchie, having called heads, won the toss, resigning Tommy unwillingly to the tour bus. Shortly before leaving for the airport, Buddy borrowed Tommy's wallet so he could pick up a package Tommy's mother had sent to General Delivery in Fargo, North Dakota, the plane's destination.

Around 1:00 AM on February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson boarded a Beechcraft F35 "V-Tail" Bonanza, piloted by 19 year old aviator Roger Peterson. Shortly after take off, Peterson failed to reply to the tower at Mason City Airport. Fearing the worst, aircraft owner, Jerry Dwyer, began frantically searching the surrounding area in another plane. As the sun came up over Clear Lake and Mason City, with the blinding snow slowly parting, Dwyer spotted what appeared to be a plane crash northwest of the airport, convinced it was the missing Bonanza. Rescue workers and authorities reached the site, not only confirming the wreckage was the downed aircraft, but were also faced with the lifeless bodies of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens directly in front of the wreck. J.P. Richardson's body was found on the other side of a barbed wire fence from the wreck, over 100 feet away. Peterson's remains were found in the remains of the cockpit. Autopsy reports on all four individuals shortly after the accident, including an autopsy performed on Richardson's body by his family in 2006, revealed all four individuals were killed on impact and did not survive the initial crash.

Waylon Jennings took Buddy's place for the remainder of the tour, with Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell becoming the tour's three new headliners alongside the existing musicians. Prior to this, local musician Bobby Vee had filled in for Buddy Holly at the next scheduled performance after Clear Lake, at the Armory in Moorhead City, Minnesota. In an ironic twist, a talent scout had seen Vee's performance starting his own rock and roll career. Upon the news of Buddy's death, Maria Elena went into shock suffering an unfortunate miscarriage. The accident still deeply traumatizes her to this day and she has not been able to visit Buddy's final resting place as a result. Buddy Holly's remains were brought back to Lubbock, where he was buried in a funeral at the City of Lubbock Cemetary, Jerry Allison and Joe Mauldin serving as pallbearers, with Don Everly in attendance. Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup, still obligated to remain with the tour, were unable to attend the funeral. In the years proceeding, Waylon was able to become an extremely successful country music artist, which he largely owed to Buddy's continued assistance and support early on. Buddy's family also received a kind letter from Elvis Presley, serving overseas in the U.S. Army at the time, giving his condolences to Buddy's mother Ella in particular, for the loss of her son.

Rock and roll musicians and bands in proceeding years, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones list Buddy Holly as a major inspiration among other first generation rock and roll musicians. In 1975, following Norman Petty declaring bankruptcy, Paul McCartney purchased the publishing rights Norman had previously held for all of Buddy's original compositions and songs. He also produced an in depth documentary on Buddy's life in 1985 called "The Real Buddy Holly" story for the BBC, after being dissatisfied with the 1978 biopic film "The Buddy Holly Story" starring Gary Busey as the late musician. Busey, a musician in his own right, is also a fan of Buddy Holly and purchased the late artist's accoustic guitar at auction from the Holley family in later years. In 1980, Buddy Holly's glasses were discovered in the basement of the Mason City Police Department, where they were being held in an evidence locker along side J.P. Richardson's watch. They were returned to his family and are now on display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock. Buddy was also among the first artists to be inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame (Performer) and Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986, alongside fellow late musicians Eddie Cochran and Elvis Presley. The Crickets continued performing, though at much less success, until 2015, though not without losing lead singer David Box to a plane crash in Minnesota in an ironic twist of fate. Following the deaths of Niki Sullivan, Tommy Allsup and Joe Mauldin in the early 21st Century, The Crickets stopped performing in 2015, with Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison being two of the only musicians of the legendary band still alive. Further tribute to Buddy Holly has been paid in various tribute albums, on which musicians Waylon Jennings, The Hollies (doing an overdub of Buddy's 1958 recording of "Peggy Sue Got Married"), Ringo Starr, Chris Isaak and Paul McCartney to name a few, performed covers of Buddy's songs. Buddy was also the focus of the BBC documentary "Rave On!" produced in 2018.


CRL 57213 Buddy Holly - Rock Around The Block album art Alan Freed And His Rock 'n' Roll Band* Featuring Buddy Holly, Billy Williams (5), The Modernaires Alan Freed And His Rock 'n' Roll Band* Featuring Buddy Holly, Billy Williams (5), The Modernaires - Rock Around The Block (Album) Coral CRL 57213 Canada 1958 Sell This Version
DL 8707 Buddy Holly - That'll Be The Day album art Buddy Holly That'll Be The Day (Album) Decca DL 8707 US 1958 Sell This Version
LVA 9085, LVA.9085, LVA9085 Buddy Holly - Buddy Holly album art Buddy Holly Buddy Holly (Album) Coral LVA 9085, LVA.9085, LVA9085 UK 1958 Sell This Version
CRL 757405 Buddy Holly - The "Chirping" Crickets album art Buddy Holly and The Crickets (2) Buddy Holly and The Crickets (2) - The "Chirping" Crickets (Album) Coral CRL 757405 Canada 1962 Sell This Version
CRL 57426 Buddy Holly - Reminiscing album art Buddy Holly Reminiscing (Album, Comp) Coral CRL 57426 Canada 1963 Sell This Version
CRL 757450 Buddy Holly - Showcase album art Buddy Holly Showcase (Album) Coral CRL 757450 US 1964 Sell This Version
LVA 9227 Buddy Holly - Holly In The Hills album art Buddy Holly & Bob Montgomery Buddy Holly & Bob Montgomery - Holly In The Hills (Album) Coral LVA 9227 UK 1965 Sell This Version
VL 73811 Buddy Holly - The Great Buddy Holly album art Buddy Holly The Great Buddy Holly (Album, Comp) Vocalion (2) VL 73811 Canada 1967 Sell This Version
COPS 1953 Buddy Holly - The Nashville Sessions album art Buddy Holly The Nashville Sessions (Comp) MCA Coral, MCA Coral, MCA Coral COPS 1953 Australia 1975 Sell This Version
GNW 4014 Buddy Holly - Visions Of Buddy Holly album art Buddy Holly, Red Robinson, The Crickets (2) Buddy Holly, Red Robinson, The Crickets (2) - Visions Of Buddy Holly(LP) The Great Northwest Music Company GNW 4014 US 1980 Sell This Version
VIM-4088, VIM-4088 (M) Buddy Holly - For The First Time Anywhere album art Buddy Holly For The First Time Anywhere (Album) MCA Records VIM-4088, VIM-4088 (M) Japan 1983 Sell This Version
BH 1 Buddy Holly - Paul McCartney & Bob Harris Speak / Buddy Holly Sings For The First Time Anywhere album art Paul McCartney & Bob Harris (6) / Buddy Holly Paul McCartney & Bob Harris (6) / Buddy Holly - Paul McCartney & Bob Harris Speak / Buddy Holly Sings For The First Time Anywhere(LP, Promo) MCA Records BH 1 Italy 1983 Sell This Version
Roll 2013 Buddy Holly - Something Special From Buddy Holly album art Buddy Holly Something Special From Buddy Holly(LP, Comp) Rollercoaster Records Roll 2013 UK 1986 Sell This Version
RCCD 3056 Buddy Holly - Ohh! Annie! album art Buddy Holly Ohh! Annie!(2xCD) Rollercoaster Records RCCD 3056 UK 2007 Sell This Version
RCCD3060 Buddy Holly - That Makes It Sound So Much Better album art Buddy Holly That Makes It Sound So Much Better (Album) Rollercoaster Records RCCD3060 UK 2011 Sell This Version
7702173 Buddy Holly - True Love Ways album art Buddy Holly With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Buddy Holly With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - True Love Ways (Album) Decca 7702173 Europe 2018 Sell This Version
PLP-819 Buddy Holly - The Famous Apartment Tapes album art Buddy Holly The Famous Apartment Tapes(LP) Prism Records (15) PLP-819 Czechoslovakia Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

45-05581 Buddy Holly - Love Me / Blue Days-Black Nights album art Buddy Holly Love Me / Blue Days-Black Nights (Single) Decca 45-05581 UK 1956 Sell This Version
9-30166 Buddy Holly - Modern Don Juan / You Are My One Desire album art Buddy Holly Modern Don Juan / You Are My One Desire (Single) Decca 9-30166 US 1956 Sell This Version
94 123 Buddy Holly - Oh Boy! album art Buddy Holly And The Crickets (2) Buddy Holly And The Crickets (2) - Oh Boy! (EP) Coral 94 123 Germany 1957 Sell This Version
45-Q 72293 Buddy Holly - Everyday / Peggy Sue album art Buddy Holly Everyday / Peggy Sue (Single) Coral 45-Q 72293 UK 1957 Sell This Version
9-61852 Buddy Holly - Words Of Love / Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues album art Buddy Holly Words Of Love / Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues (Single) Coral 9-61852 Canada 1957 Sell This Version
9-30434 Buddy Holly - That'll Be The Day / Rock Around With Ollie Vee album art Buddy Holly That'll Be The Day / Rock Around With Ollie Vee (Single) Decca 9-30434 US 1957 Sell This Version
93 263, NC 93 263 Buddy Holly - Maybe Baby / Tell Me How album art Buddy Holly And The Crickets (2) Buddy Holly And The Crickets (2) - Maybe Baby / Tell Me How (Single) Coral, Coral 93 263, NC 93 263 Germany 1958 Sell This Version
EC 81169 Buddy Holly - Listen To Me album art Buddy Holly Listen To Me (EP) Coral EC 81169 US 1958 Sell This Version