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L E’s Stories – “The Day The Music Died” – The Story Of Buddy Holly

Our Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile, was born a member of the Baby Boomer Generation…..which had a generational moniker of “Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll”…..while growing up in West Texas during the decades of the 1950’s and 1960’s….which just happened to be one of the major epicenters of the “school of rock / country rock” featuring such artists as The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson – who was killed in the plane crash with Holly) from Sabine Pass…..Roy Orbison from Wink….Kris Kristofferson from Brownsville…..Janis Joplin from Port Arthur…..Waylon Jennings from Littlefield….ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill from Dallas and Billy Gibbons from Houston….The Gatlin Brothers from Odessa…..Tanya Tucker from Seminole….and Joe Ely and Delbert McClinton from Lubbock….as  Bone Daddy has spoken often about attending Friday Night “Sock Hops” at the Midland Youth Center….where  groups including many of these artists during these two decades….while dancing to the music of Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, The Big Bopper, The Gatlin Brothers, et al played regularly.  So, in dedication to the memory of the many times that Bone Daddy was seen “cuttin’ a rug” in his white tube socks with his “sweet thang” to the tunes of some of rock n roll’s greatest icons….I post this story of Buddy Holly….the most influential of them all….a true West Texas legend.                                                                            

Music – 1936 To 1959 – Special Documentary – The Real Buddy Holly Story

Charles Hardin Holley, born September 7, 1936 and died February 3, 1959…..who was known as Buddy Holly…..as a legendary American musician and singer-songwriter…..while being a central pioneering figure of rock and roll music….who was an incomparable influence on the two greatest rock and roll bands of all time….The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.  He was born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression……and learned to play guitar and sing alongside his siblings…..as his style was influenced by gospel music, country music and rhythm and blues acts….of which he performed in Lubbock with his friends from high school…..when he made his first appearance on local television in 1952….and the following year he formed the group “Buddy and Bob” with his friend Bob Montgomery. In 1955….when after opening for Elvis Presley, he decided to pursue a career in music.  He opened for Presley three times that year….as his band’s style shifted from country and western to entirely rock and roll. In October that year while opening for Bill Haley & His Comets….that is when he was spotted by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall….who helped him get a contract with Decca Records.

 

Music – 1954 – Buddy Holly & Bob Montgomery – “I Gambled My Heart Away”
 

Holley’s recording sessions at Decca were produced by Owen Bradley…. who had become famous for producing orchestrated country hits for stars like Patsy Cline…..but unhappy with Bradley’s musical style and control in the studio….so, Holly went to producer Norman Petty in  Clovis, New Mexico….where he recorded a demo of “That’ll Be the Day”, among other songs….then Petty became the band’s manager and sent the demo to Brunswick Records…..which released it as a single credited to “The Crickets”…..a name that afterwards became the name of Holley’s band.   In September 1957, as the band toured, as “That’ll Be the Day” topped the US and UK singles charts…..and Its success was followed in October by another major hit, “Peggy Sue”.                                                                                                                                                        

Music – 1957 – Ed Sullivan Show – Featuring Buddy Holly & The Crickets – “That’ll Be The Day”                             

The album Chirping Crickets was released in November 1957….and it reached # 5 on the UK Albums Chart….and that is when Holly made his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in January 1958….and soon thereafter, toured Australia and the UK.  In early 1959, he assembled a new band, consisting of future country music star Waylon Jennings on bass, famed session musician Tommy Allsup on guitar and Carl Bunch (drums)….and then embarked on a tour of the mid-western U.S.  After a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, he chartered an airplane to travel to his next show, in Moorhead, Minnesota…..when soon after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and pilot Roger Peterson in a tragedy later referred to by Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died” in his song American Pie”.  He is often regarded as the artist who defined the traditional rock-and-roll lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums…..who was a major influence on later popular music artists including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Hollies (who named themselves in his honor), Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw (who later played Holly), and Elton John.                                                  

Music – 2018 – Buddy Holly & Gregory Porter – “Raining In My Heart”                                                                       

Raining In My Heart” was released in 1958…..was written by Felice and Boudieaux Bryant….which was recorded during the same session as “True Love Ways” on October 21, 1958, at the Pythian Temple Studio in New York City with Dick Jacobs’ orchestra. It was released as a single on Coral Records on January 5, 1959 peaking at # 88 on the Billboard charts as the B-side of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”.  In the video seen above, in mid-2018, popular recording artist, Gregory Porter, is joined by a full orchestra…. along with Buddy Holly “over-dubs”….which Holly invented in rock n roll music…as he produces a beautiful rendition of “Raining In My Heart”…..and after watching this video, I went and watch other music videos of Gregory Porter….and I have become a Gregory Porter fan….as I really like his music and style….a bit of Barry White with a jazz beat and sound…..and this video duet with Buddy Holly is top shelf….as Holly’s music is ever bit as present in 2020 as it was in 1955…..which is two legends together equals pure genius….a mere 65 years ago….which just shows you how good the original was….and when you add Porter’s voice and the Dick Jacobs orchestra…..who are Texans that are just as good ad any British orchestra….and you’ve got magic.

 

Music – 1958 – Buddy Holly – “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”                                                                                                                                                                           

During his early childhood, Holley was influenced by the music of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Snow, Bob Wills, and the Carter Family….and when at Roscoe Wilson Elementary, he became friends with Bob Montgomery, and the two played together, practicing with songs by the Louvin Brothers and Johnnie & Jack…..as they both listened to the radio programs like The Grand Ole Opry on WSM….The  Louisiana Hayride on KWKH….and the Big D Jamboree.  At the same time, Holley played with other musicians he met in high school….which included Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison….then in 1952, Holley and Jack Neal participated as a duo billed as “Buddy and Jack” in a talent contest on a local television show…..when after Neal left, he was replaced by Bob Montgomery….and they were billed as “Buddy and Bob”…..as the two soon started performing on the Sunday Party show on KDAV in 1953….while also performing live gigs in Lubbock.  Also at that time, Holley was influenced by late-night radio stations that played  blues and rhythm and blues (R&B)…..as he would sit in his car with Curtis and tune to distant radio stations that could only be received at night….at the times when local transmissions ceased….and that’s when Holly began to modify his music by blending his earlier country and western (C&W) influence with R & B.                                                                                                                                              

Music – 1955 To 1958 – The Buddy Holly Story – From Lubbock To New York City

By 1955, after graduating from Lubbock High School,…that’s when  Holly decided to pursue a full-time career in music….plus, he was completely sold after seeing Elvis Presley performing live in Lubbock… whose act was booked by Pappy Dave Stone of KDAV.  In February, Holly opened for Presley at the Fair Park Coliseum….then again in April at the Cotton Club….and for a 3rd time in June at the Coliseum….and by that time, he had incorporated into his band Larry Welborn on the stand-up bass and Allison on drums….as his style shifted from C&W to rock and roll due to seeing Presley’s performances up close and personal….while hearing his music.  In October, Stone booked Bill Haley & His Comets….while placing Buddy Holley as the opening act…. which was seen by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall….who was very Impressed….and then persuaded Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny to seek a recording contract for Holley…..when Stone sent a demo tape of which Denny forwarded to Paul Cohen….who signed the band to  Decca Records in February 1956.  In the contract, Decca misspelled Holley’s surname as Holly….and from then on he was known as Buddy Holly.                                                                                       

Music – 1955 – Coral Records Presents – Buddy Holly – “Rock Around With Ollie Vee”                                           

On January 26, 1956, Holly attended his first formal recording session ….which was produced by Owen Bradley….then he attended two more sessions in Nashville….but with the producer selecting the session musicians and arrangements….that’s when Holly became increasingly frustrated by his lack of creative control.  In April 1956, Decca released “Blue Days, Black Nights” as a single…..with “Love Me” on the B-side…. Denny included Holly on a tour as the opening act for Faron Young….when during the tour, they were promoted as Buddy Holly and the Two Tones….to which Decca later called them Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes…..as this label later released Holly’s second single “Modern Don Juan”, backed with “You Are My One Desire”…..when neither single made an impression….so, in January of 1957, Decca informed Holly his contract would not be renewed….but insisted he could not record the same songs for anyone else for five years.

 

Music – 1955 – Decca Records Presents Buddy Holly – “Blue Days Black Nights”
 

For the start of the Winter Dance Party tour, he assembled a band consisting of Waylon Jennings on electric bass, Tommy Allsup on guitar and Carl Bunch on drums…..when Holly and Jennings left for New York City and arriving on January 15, 1959. Jennings stayed at Holly’s apartment by Washington Square Park on the days prior to a meeting scheduled at the headquarters of the General Artists Corporation, which organized the tour….and they then traveled by train to Chicago to join the rest of the band.                              

Music – 1956 To 1957 – Special – Buddy Holly Meets Elvis Pressley In Lubbock, Tx

The Winter Dance Party tour began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 23, 1959….when the amount of travel involved created logistical problems….as the distance between venues had not been considered when scheduling performances….while adding to the problem, the unheated tour buses twice broke down in freezing weather, with dire consequences….Holly’s drummer Carl Bunch was hospitalized for frostbite to his toes….which were suffered while aboard the bus….so Holly decided to seek other transportation….and then on February 2, just before their appearance in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane for Jennings, Allsup and himself from Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa. Holly’s idea was to depart following the show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and fly to their next venue, in Moorhead, Minnesota, via Fargo, North Dakota, allowing them time to rest and launder their clothes and avoid a rigorous bus journey.  Immediately after the Clear Lake show…which ended just before midnight….when Allsup agreed to flip a coin for the seat with Richie Valens….who called heads and won….while reportedly saying….“That’s the first time I’ve ever won anything in my life”….to which Allsup later opened a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas called Heads Up.  Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), who had influenza and complained that the tour bus was too cold and uncomfortable for a man of his size.                                                                              

Music – 1958 – Dick Clark’s American Bandstand – With The Big Bopper + Buddy Holly + Richie Valens

The pilot, Roger Peterson, took off in inclement weather, even though he was not certified to fly by instruments only. Shortly after 12:55 am on February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Peterson were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed into a frozen cornfield five miles northwest of Mason City, Iowa airport shortly after takeoff…..as the three musicians, who were ejected from the fuselage upon impact, suffered fatal head and chest injuries. Buddy Holly was 22 years old….Richie Vallens was 18….and The Big Bopper was 29…..for this was the day that the music died.  Ah man, I almost get angry thinking about it….cuz that plane should have never been allowed to take off….for so many reasons….as we can only image what these three legends could’ve done….so many more great things.  Buddy Holly’s wife was pregnant at the time of the crash. When the deaths were announced on the news, the shock caused her to have a miscarriage. Since then, families are notified 1st, before any media announcements.  Bone Daddy tells of a dream he had once where he saw Buddy in the studio in 1967 sitting behind the board smoking a cigarette with long hair and wearing granny rimless glasses producing Credence Clearwater Revival….with John Lennon standing next to him and  whispering in Buddy’s ear….as both are laughing…”….when he saw this in a dream 30 years ago.  When these fellas got on that plane back in the winter of 1959…..while Richie Valens was 17, Buddy Holly was 22 and the Big Bopper was 29…. but imagine if they never would have got on that plane, they all still might be alive…..and Ritchie would have turned 79, Buddy Holly would be 84 and the Big Bopper would be 89 , you just never know.                                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1959 – Special – “The Day The Music Died” – Featuring Don McLean + Buddy Holly + Richie Valens + The Big Bopper

Holly’s funeral was held on February 7, 1959, at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock. The service was officiated by Ben D. Johnson, who had presided at the Hollys’ wedding just months earlier. The pallbearers were Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan, Bob Montgomery, and Sonny Curtis. Some sources say that Phil Everly, the one half of The Everly Brothers, was also the pallbearer, but he said at one time that he attended the funeral but was not a pallbearer….while  Waylon Jennings was unable to attend, because of his commitment to the still-touring Winter Dance Party.  Holly’s body was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery….and his headstone carries the correct spelling of his surname (Holley) and a carving of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.                                                                                                            

Music – 1959 – Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame Special – “The Winter Dance Party” – The Real Story Of Buddy Holly’s Death As Told By DION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Buddy Holly left behind dozens of unfinished recordings….with solo transcriptions of his new compositions, informal jam sessions with band mates or tapes demonstrating songs intended for other artists. The most recent recordings were made in Holly’s apartment in late 1958, were his last six original songs. In June 1959, Coral Records overdubbed two of them with backing vocals by the Ray Charles Singers and studio musicians in an attempt to simulate the established Crickets sound. The finished tracks became the first posthumous Holly single, “Peggy Sue Got Married”/”Crying, Waiting, Hoping”. The new release was successful enough to warrant an album drawing upon the other Holly demos, using the same studio personnel, in January 1960.  All six songs were included in The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2 (1960).  The demand for Holly records was so great, and Holly had recorded so prolifically, that his record label was able to release new Holly albums and singles for the next 10 years….as Norman Petty produced most of these new editions…..while drawing upon unreleased studio masters, alternative takes, audition tapes and even amateur recordings (some dating back to 1954 with low-fidelity vocals). The final “new” Buddy Holly album, “Giant”, was released in 1969…. with the single chosen from the album was “Love Is Strange”.                                                                                                                                                            

Music – 1957 – Buddy Holly & The Crickets – “Love Is Strange”                                                                                        

Encyclopedia Britannica stated that Holly “produced some of the most distinctive and influential work in rock music”….while AllMusic defined him as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll”….Rolling Stone ranked him # 13 on its list of “100 Greatest Artists”….as the Telegraph called him a “pioneer and a revolutionary ….a multidimensional talent….who co-wrote and performed songs that remain as fresh and potent today”….which is true in 2020.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included Holly among its first class in 1986…. when during his entry, the Hall of Fame remarked upon the large quantity of material he produced during his short musical career…. while saying “it made a major and lasting impact on popular music”…. as it called him an “innovator” for writing his own material….his experimentation with double tracking……and the use of orchestration ….plus, he is also said to have “pioneered and popularized the now-standard” use of two guitars, bass, and drums by rock bands.  The Songwriters Hall of Fame also inducted Holly in 1986….and said his contributions “changed the face of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.  Holly developed in collaboration with Petty techniques of overdubbing and reverberation, while he used innovative instrumentation later implemented by other artists…..when Holly became “one of the most influential pioneers of rock and roll” who had a “lasting influence” on genre performers of the 1960’s.  In 1997, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave Holly the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Holly was inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.                                                         

Music – 1958 – Ed Sullivan Show Live – With Guest Buddy Holly & The Crickets – “Oh Boy”                                 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney saw Holly for the first time when he appeared on Sunday Night at the London Palladium The two had recently met and begun their musical association. They studied Holly’s records, learned his performance style and lyricism, and based their act around his persona. Inspired by Holly’s insect-themed Crickets, they chose to name their band “The Beatles”. Lennon and McCartney later cited Holly as one of their main influences.  On January 31, 1959, two nights before Holly’s death, 17-year-old Bob Dylan attended Holly’s performance in Duluth, MN….as Dylan referred to this in his acceptance speech when he received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Time Out of Mind in 1998 by saying “when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him … and he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was … with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way”.  Mick Jagger saw Holly performing live in Woolwich, London, during a tour of England….as Jagger particularly remembered Holly’s performance of “Not Fade Away”….which a song that also inspired Keith Richards, who modeled his early guitar playing on the track….plus, the Rolling Stones had a hit version of the song in 1964.  Richards later said, “[Holly] passed it on via the Beatles and via [the Rolling Stones] … He’s in everybody”.                                                                                                                                                                          

Music – 1957 To 1958 – Special Radio Interviews With Buddy Holly – By Allan Freed + Dick Clark + Ed Sullivan Et Al

Don McLean’s popular 1971 ballad “American Pie” was inspired by Holly’s death and the day of the plane crash….as the song’s lyric, which calls the incident “The Day the Music Died”….which became popularly associated with the crash. McLean’s album American Pie is dedicated to Holly.  In 2015, McLean wrote, “Buddy Holly would have the same stature musically whether he would have lived or died, because of his accomplishments … By the time he was 22 years old, he had recorded some 50 tracks, most of which he had written himself … in my view and the view of many others, a hit … Buddy Holly and the Crickets were the template for all the rock bands that followed”.                                                                                                         

Music – 1971 – Don McLean – “American Pie” With Lyrics

There were many more famous rock and roll artists who credit Buddy Holly with being a major influence in getting them into the music business including Elton John, The Clash, Bobby Vee, Richard Barone and Eric Clapton….who in his autobiography recounted the first time he saw Holly and his Fender, saying, “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven … it was like seeing an instrument from outer space and I said to myself: ‘That’s the future – that’s what I want'”…..while Bruce Springsteen said in a Rolling Stone interview in 1978 that “I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on; that keeps me honest”….and even  Terry Pratchett’s main character in his novel book Soul Music was named Imp Y Celyn, a young lad from Llamedos….who sings and plays the guitar….with the name of Welsh….which means “bud of the holly”…. who later on he uses the name “Buddy”.                                                                                                                            

Music – 1958 – Buddy Holly & The Crickets – “True Love Ways”                                                                                   

Buddy Holly is immortal…..for he is one of the brightest stars in the galaxy of rock and roll legends….and his music will never die…..but at the end of the day for this lil ole chiweenie raconteur Sportsphile…..while having the opportunity to see Bone Daddy’s rare emotions that were displayed in open sight when he was reviewing this story of mine….cuz the memories of the times shared with his West Texas brother of another mother, Buddy Holley…..are memories that are worth all the riches in the world.

 

Music – February 3, 1959 -Winter Dance Party Tribute -With Ritchie Valens – “Hurry Up” + The Big Bopper – “It’s The Truth Ruth + Buddy Holly – “Think It Over” + Eddie Cochran – “Three Stars”

 

 

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