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Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 - February 2, 1959), better known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer, songwriter, and a pioneer of Rock and Roll.

He was born in Lubbock, Texas and as a young boy, Holly learned to play the violin, piano and guitar. Singing with a friend, his big break came when they opened for Bill Haley and the Comets at a local rock show. He was signed by a scout from Decca Records to a solo recording contract. However, success eluded him as a solo artist at first.

Back in Lubbock, he formed his own band, "The Crickets," and began making records at Norman Petty's studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Among the songs they recorded was "That'll Be the Day", which takes its title from a phrase which John Wayne's character says repeatedly in the movie, The Searchers. Norman had music industry contacts, and believing that "That'll Be the Day" would be a hit single, he contacted publishers and labels. Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca, signed Buddy Holly and The Crickets. This put Buddy in the unusual position of having two record contracts at the same time!

Holly's music was notably sophisticated for its day, including the use of novel instruments (for rock and roll) and more complex harmonies and melodies. Some songs showed more lyrical sophistication than previously shown in the genre. He also managed to bridge some of the racial divide that punctuated rock, notably winning over an all-black audience when accidentally booked for New York's Apollo Theatre[?] (though, unlike the fictional portrayal in his movie biography "The Buddy Holly Story", it took several performances for audiences to be convinced of his talents).

After the release of several highly successful songs, in March of 1958, he and the Crickets toured Great Britain, the music having a profound effect on teenager Paul McCartney, and thus The Beatles.

In 1959, he split with his band and began a solo tour with other notable performers including Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). A late-night plane crash killed all three on February 3, leaving Holley's pregnant bride a widow. (She would miscarry soon after.) February 3, the day when the news of the deaths was widely know, became known as "The Day The Music Died". Funeral services were held at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, and Buddy Holly was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.

As well as the movie of his life (for which actor Gary Busey received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor), there has been a successful Broadway musical documenting his career. His untimely death was immortalised in Don McLean's popular 1971 ballad "American Pie".

He is considered one of the founding fathers of rock 'n roll and one of its most influential. Although his career was cut short after three years on the charts, his body of work is considered some of the best in rock music history and his music would influence not only many of his recording contemporaries, but also the future direction music would take.

He died in the crash of a small private plane after it took off from Clear Lake, Iowa bound for Fargo, North Dakota. His body was returned home and he was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery, Lubbock, Texas.

Selected Discography

  • "That'll Be The Day" -- 1957
  • "Peggy Sue" -- 1957
  • "Everyday" -- 1957
  • "Oh Boy!" -- 1957
  • "Not Fade Away" -- 1957
  • "Maybe Baby" -- 1958
  • "Rave On" -- 1958
  • "Heartbeat" -- 1958
  • "Well All Right" -- 1958
  • "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" -- 1959
  • "Raining In My Heart" -- 1959
  • "Peggy Sue Got Married" -- 1959
  • "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" -- 1959
  • "True Love Ways" -- 1960
  • "Reminiscing" -- 1962
  • "Bo Diddley" -- 1963
  • "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" -- 1963

"Buddy Holly" was a hit in 1995 by a emo/alternative/punk music group by Weezer.

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