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Buddy Holly. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:39, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Buddy_Holly&oldid=264891966
Charles Hardin Holley, known professionally as Buddy Holly (September 7, 1936 "" February 3, 1959) was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. The change of spelling of "Holley" to "Holly" came about because of an error in a contract he was asked to sign, listing him as Buddy Holly. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career.
Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Charles Hardin Holley was born in Lubbock, Texas to Lawrence Odell Holley and Ella Pauline Drake on Labor Day, in 1936. The Holleys were a musical family and as a young boy Holley learned to play piano, guitar and violin (his brothers oiled the strings so much that no one could hear him play.) He was always known as Buddy to his family. In 1949 Buddy made a recording of Hank Snow's 'My Two-Timin' Woman' on a wire recorder "borrowed" by a friend who worked in a music shop (not, as is often reported, a home tape recorder), his first known recording. During the fall of that year he met Bob Montgomery in Hutchinson Junior High School. They shared a common interest in music and soon teamed up as the duo "Buddy and Bob." Initially influenced by bluegrass music, they sang harmony duets at local clubs and high school talent shows. In Lubbock, Holly attended Hutchinson Junior High School, which has a mural honoring him, and Lubbock High School, which has numerous features to honor the late musician. His musical interests grew throughout high school while singing in the Lubbock High School Choir.
Holly turned to rock music after seeing Elvis Presley sing live in Lubbock in early 1955. A few months later, he appeared on the same bill with Presley, also in Lubbock. Holly's transition to rock continued when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets at a local rock show organized by Eddie Crandall, who was also the manager for Marty Robbins. As a result of this performance, Holly was offered a contract with Decca Records to work alone, which he accepted. According to the Amburn book (p. 45), his public name changed from "Holley" to "Holly" on 8 February 1956, when he signed the Decca contract. Among the tracks recorded for Decca was an early version of "That'll Be The Day", which took its title from a phrase that John Wayne's character said repeatedly in the 1956 film, The Searchers.
Back in Lubbock, Holly formed his own band, although at that time it had no name and would only later be called The Crickets and began recording at Norman Petty's studios in Clovis, New Mexico. 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 The Crickets. Soon after, they signed Holly as a solo artist. This put Holly in the unusual position of having two record contracts at the same time. Before "That'll Be The Day" had its nationwide release, Holly played lead guitar on the single "Starlight", recorded in April 1957, featuring Jack Huddle. The initial, unsuccessful version of "That'll Be The Day" played more slowly and about half an octave higher than the hit version.
Holly managed to bridge some of the racial divide that marked rock n' roll music. While Elvis made black music more acceptable to whites, Holly won over an all-black audience when the Crickets were booked at New York's Apollo Theater (though, unlike the immediate response depicted in the 1978 movie The Buddy Holly Story, it actually took several performances for his talents to be appreciated).
After the release of several highly successful songs in 1958, Holly and the Crickets toured Australia in January and later the United Kingdom.
That same year, he met Maria Elena Santiago (born 1935 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) while she was working as a receptionist for Peer-Southern Music, a New York music publisher. According to a romanticised version of the truth encouraged by Maria Elena, he proposed to her on their very first date. She initially thought he was kidding, but they were married in Lubbock on 15 August 1958, less than two months after they met. "I'd never had a boyfriend in my life. I'd never been on a date before. But when I saw Buddy, it was like magic. We had something special: love at first sight," Maria told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on the occasion of what would have been the Hollys' fiftieth wedding anniversary. She resides in Dallas.
Maria traveled on some of the tours, doing everything from the laundry to equipment set-up to ensuring the group got paid.
The ambitious Holly became increasingly interested in the New York music/recording/publishing scene, while his younger and more easygoing bandmates wanted to go back home to Lubbock. As a result, in 1959 the group split.
Holly began a solo tour with other notable performers, including Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. After a performance in Green Bay, Wisconsin at the Riverside Ballroom, on 1 February the tour moved on to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on 2 February 1959. Afterwards, Buddy Holly chartered a Beechcraft Bonanza to take him and his new back-up band (Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings) to Fargo, North Dakota, enroute to play the next leg of the Winter Dance Party tour at the Armory in Moorhead, Minnesota. Carl Bunch missed the flight as he had been hospitalized with frostbite three days earlier. The Big Bopper asked Jennings for his spot on the four-seat plane, as he was recovering from the flu. Ritchie Valens was still signing autographs at the concert site when Allsup walked in and told him it was time to go. Valens begged for a seat on the plane. Allsup pulled a 50 cent coin out of his pocket and the two men flipped for the seat. Allsup lost.
The plane took off in light snow and gusty winds at around 12:05 A.M., but crashed a few minutes later. The wreckage was discovered several hours later by the plane's owner, Jerry Dwyer, some 8 miles (13 km) from the airport on the property of Albert Juhl. The crash killed Holly, Valens, Richardson, and the 21-year-old pilot, Roger Peterson. Holly's body, along with those of Valens and Richardson, was thrown from the wreckage. Holly and Valens lay 17 feet (5.2 m) south of the wreckage and Richardson was thrown around 40 feet (12 m) to the north of the wreckage. The pilot's body remained in the wreckage. All had suffered severe and multiple injuries. Without any doubt, all had died on impact, with the plane hitting the ground at 170 mph (270 km/h). While theories abound as to the exact cause of the crash, an official determination of pilot error was rendered by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Although the crash received a good deal of local coverage, it was displaced in the national news by an accident that occurred the same day in New York City, when American Airlines Flight 320 crashed during an instrument landing approach at LaGuardia Airport, killing 65. Don McLean referred to it as "The Day the Music Died".
Holly's pregnant wife became a widow after barely six months of marriage and miscarried soon after.
Holly's funeral was held on 7 February 1959 at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock under the direction of Sanders Funeral Home. His body was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery in the eastern part of the city. Holly's headstone carries the correct spelling of his surname (Holley) and a carving of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.
Maria Holly did not attend the funeral and has never visited the gravesite. She told the Avalanche-Journal: "In a way, I blame myself. I was not feeling well when he left. I was two weeks pregnant, and I wanted Buddy to stay with me, but he had scheduled that tour. It was the only time I wasn't with him. And I blame myself because I know that, if only I had gone along, Buddy never would have gotten into that airplane."
Early in 2008, Maria visited the apartment building where she and Holly lived. There, she observed musicians in nearby Washington Square Park, where Holly often played his guitar. "I gave one musician $9 because 9 was Buddy's favorite number," Maria told the Avalanche-Journal. She said that she had never come to grips with his premature death.
Buddy Holly recorded so prolifically that his record label was able to release brand-new Buddy Holly albums and singles for 10 years after his death, although the technical quality of the recordings issued was very mixed, some being studio quality and others home recordings. Holly's simple demonstration recordings were overdubbed by studio musicians, to bring them up to then-commercial standards. The best of these overdubbed records is often considered to be the first posthumous single, the 1959 coupling of "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", produced by Jack Hansen, with added backing vocals by the Ray Charles Singers in simulation of an authentic Crickets record. "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" was actually supposed to be the "A" side of the 45, with the backup group effectively echoing Buddy's call-and-response vocal. The Hansen session, in which Holly's last six original compositions were overdubbed, was issued on the 1960 Coral LP The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2' '. But the best "posthumous" records were the studio recordings, which included "Wishing" and "Reminiscing".
Buddy Holly continued to be promoted and sold as an "active" artist, and his records had a loyal following, especially in Europe. The demand for unissued Holly material was so great that Norman Petty resorted to overdubbing whatever he could find: alternate takes of studio recordings, originally rejected masters, "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and the other five 1959 tracks (adding new surf-guitar arrangements), and even Holly's amateur demos from 1954 (where the low-fidelity vocals are often muffled behind the new orchestrations). The last new Buddy Holly album was Giant (featuring the single, "Love Is Strange"), issued in 1969. Between the 1959""60 Jack Hansen overdubs, the 1960s Norman Petty overdubs, various alternate takes, and Holly's undubbed originals, collectors can often choose from multiple versions of the same song.
Holly's music was sophisticated for its day, including the use of instruments considered novel for rock and roll, such as the celesta (heard on "Everyday"). Holly was an influential lead and rhythm guitarist, notably on songs such as "Peggy Sue" and "Not Fade Away". While Holly could pump out boy-loves-girl songs with the best of his contemporaries, other songs featured more sophisticated lyrics and more complex harmonies and melodies than had previously appeared in the genre.
Many of his songs feature a unique vocal "hiccup" technique, a glottal stop, to emphasize certain words in any given song, especially the rockers. Other singers (such as Elvis) have used a similar technique, though less obviously and consistently. Examples of this can be found at the start of the raucous "Rave On": "Weh-eh-ell, the little things you say and do, make me want to be with you-ou..."; in "That'll Be the Day": "Well, you give me all your lovin' and your -turtle dovin'..."; and in "Peggy Sue": "I love you Peggy Sue - with a love so rare and tr-ue ...".
Contrary to popular belief, teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not attend a Holly concert, although they watched his TV appearance on "Sunday Night at the London Palladium"; Tony Bramwell, a school friend of McCartney and George Harrison, did. Keith Richards attended one of the gigs, where he heard "Not Fade Away" for the first time. Bramwell met Holly, and freely shared his records with all three. Lennon and McCartney later cited Holly as a primary influence. (Their band's name, The Beatles, was chosen partly in homage to Holly's Crickets.) The Beatles did a cover version of "Words of Love" that was a close reproduction of Holly's version. Fan McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's song catalogue.
A young Bob Dylan attended the 31 January 1959 show, two nights before Holly's death. Dylan referred to this in his 1998 Grammy acceptance speech for his 1997 Time out of Mind winning Album of the Year:
"And I just want to say that 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 "" I don't know how or why "" but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way."
Various rock and roll histories have asserted that the singing group The Hollies were named in homage to Buddy Holly. According to the band's website, although the group admired Holly (and years later produced an album covering some of his songs), their name was inspired primarily by the sprigs of holly in evidence around Christmas of 1962.
After the death of Buddy he would leave a trail of followers from Bob Dylan, to Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, and The Beatles. Also, one of The Rolling Stones early hits was a cover of "Not Fade Away".
Don McLean's popular 1971 ballad "American Pie" is inspired by the day of the plane crash. He has also covered "Everyday".
Eddie Cochran, good friend and fellow rock 'n' roll pioneer was so distraught by the deaths of Holly, Valens and The Big Bopper that he recorded the song "Three Stars" as a tribute. The song was not released until after Cochran's own premature death, because he was too upset to allow it to be issued in his lifetime.
A 1980 Gyllene Tider song is called "Ska vi Ã¤lska, sÃ¥ ska vi Ã¤lska till Buddy Holly". ("If We'll Make Love, We'll Make Love (listening) to Buddy Holly").
The Smithereens' song "Maria Elena" is a Buddy Holly tribute as sung to his widow.
Blink-182 has a song named "Peggy Sue" which is a tribute to Holly.
Phil Ochs famously sang a long tribute to Buddy Holly on the infamous Gunfight at Carnegie Hall album.
Mike Berry released a 1961 single called "Tribute to Buddy Holly". It was written by Geoff Goddard and produced by Joe Meek, who was a great Buddy Holly fan. In the USA, it was released on Coral, Buddy Holly's label.
Weezer's self-titled debut album features the band's popular single "Buddy Holly".
In 1985 the German rock band Die Ãrzte sang a song named "Buddy Hollys Brille" (Buddy Holly's glasses), in which they discussed in a humorous way the question of what happened to Buddy Holly's glasses after his death.
Mac Davis' "Happiness is Lubbock, Texas (In My Rearview Mirror)" also references Buddy Holly, with these lines:
I set out one night in June
Stoned by the glow of the Texas moon
Humming an old Buddy Holly tune called "Peggy Sue"
With my favorite jeans
And a cheap guitar
I ran off chasing a distant star
If Buddy Holly could make it that far
I figured I could too
Musician Albert Hammond, Jr. has a cover of "Well... Alright" on his 2007 album Yours To Keep.
Run-DMC's music video for the song "King of Rock" has an extended video on Buddy Holly performing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The 2008 Ukulele Recordings EP by Hellogoodbye includes a cover of the song "Everyday".
Downtown Lubbock has a "walk of fame" with plaques to various area artists such as Glenna Goodacre, Mac Davis, Maines Brothers Band, and Waylon Jennings, with a life-size statue of Buddy by sculptor Grant Speed (1980) playing his Fender guitar as its centerpiece. Downtown Lubbock also features Buddy Holly Avenue and the Buddy Holly Center, which is a museum dedicated to Texas art and music.
In 1988, Ken Paquette, a Wisconsin fan of the 1950s, erected a stainless steel monument at the site of the airplane crash, depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records bearing the names of each of the three performers. It is located on private farmland approximately five miles north of Clear Lake.GPS= 93 22 52W, 43 13 13.3N.. He also created a similar stainless steel monument to the three musicians at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin. That memorial was unveiled on July 17, 2003.
The Surf Ballroom hosts an annual tribute on the anniversary of Holly's last performances. The 'Winter Dance Party Tour' is a tribute tour to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and early rock and roll. It gets its name from the tour that ended the lives of Holly, Valens, and Richardson. This reproduction of the tour ends every year at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
In the Rolling Stone interview from August 24th, 1978, Bruce Springsteen tells Dave Marsh, "I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on; that keeps me honest."
The science fiction novel Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, by Bradley Denton (ISBN 0-688-10822-9 and ISBN 0-380-71876-6), begins when television sets throughout the world suddenly begin broadcasting a concert by an apparently living Buddy Holly, who says he is on Ganymede.
In Soul Music, part of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, a character by the name of Imp y Celyn appeared as a bard-cum-guitar-playing-rocker from the fictional Cymric country of Llamedos. He became the Disc's greatest musician under the name Buddy in the Band with Rocks In, before dying in a cart crash (a reference to Buddy Holly as Imp's name translates as "bud of the holly").
In the alternate history series of novels Wild Cards, set in the 1980s, Buddy Holly is alive although he can't perform his classics any more because they were bought from him during difficult times. After some time as a lounge act performing covers of other people's songs, he is brought back for a benefit concert where he performs new material, and also manifests a Wild Card ability.
"Oil", an episode of The Young Ones features Mike (Christopher Ryan) discovering Buddy Holly, alive and well and tangled in parachutes, in the attic of a house in London.
A fictional version of a young pre-fame Buddy Holly is a secondary character in an episode of Quantum Leap, working as a veterinarian's assistant. In the episode, Sam overhears Buddy strumming his guitar calling to a lost pig "Piggy, sooie" and realizes the identity of his heretofore anonymous assistant; Sam suggests Buddy change the words to "Peggy Sue".
The song "Everyday" is featured in the beginning of the LOST episode, Cabin Fever.
In the Simpsons episode "Colonel Homer", the manager of the recording studio fondly recalled how "Buddy Holly stood on this spot in 1958 and said, 'There is no way in hell I am gonna record in this dump.'" In a later episode, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper appear on an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. Itchy sabotages the plane's engine, resulting in the crash that kills the musicians and pilot Scratchy. In yet another episode, Lisa discovers Sideshow Bob had won election as mayor through votes by her two dead cats, Snowball I and Snowball II, as well as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (whose tombstone reads "good bye, baaaaby!!").
In an episode of the MTV series Clone High, Holly "guest stars", along with Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and several other musicians who died in plane crashes.
Maria Holly told the Avalanche-Journal that some have called her "the Yoko Ono of Lubbock; they blame me for everything," a reference to controversies over using Holly's name to promote the City of Lubbock. The city was forced to rename the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame to the West Texas Walk of Fame. She recalled former Mayors Windy Sitton and David Langston as allies, but she said that she could not work well with former Mayor Marc McDougal.
"And I have not even received a phone call from the new Lubbock mayor or anyone in the City Council. ... I've tried to help with an annual festival and symposium and concert. Lubbock officials had gold in their hands, and they didn't know how to sift it," Maria told the newspaper.
Travis Holley, an older brother of Buddy, said, "I don't think Lubbock likes her. She puts too many restrictions on using Buddy's name, whereas the family considers it an honor that the city wants to pay tribute to Buddy. That is the reason I don't like Maria. I don't like the way she's been so mercenary for so long about Buddy's name."
Maria, however, has remained firm for a half century. She contends that she is merely protecting her late husband's reputation.
Buddy Holly. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:39, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Buddy_Holly&oldid=264891966
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