Name: Buddy Holly (birth name: Charles Hardin Holley)
Birthdate: Sept. 7, 1936
Family: Parents: L.O. and Ella Holley, sister, Patricia, brothers, Larry and Travis (Buddy's siblings are alive and presently living in Lubbock, his parents died several years ago)
Hometown: Lubbock Texas
Early music endeavors: Played both piano and violin as a young child. Started playing guitar, mandolin and banjo in his early teens. Performed western music (country music) with Jack Neal as "Buddy and Jack" in 1952 and then with Bob Montgomery as "Buddy and Bob". Buddy and Bob became regulars on "The Sunday Party" radio program on station KDAV in 1953 and added Larry Welborn on stand up bass soon afterward.
Photo: Buddy Holly, on tour in Australia 1957 Photo by manager Norman Petty
Graduated High School: 1955, Lubbock High School
Early musical influences: Western (country music), blues and newcomer Elvis Presley.
Band's name: The Crickets
Bandmates:(1957 when the Crickets were formed) J.I (Jerry) Allison, drums, Nikki Sullivan (Buddy's distant cousin) rhythm guitar, and Larry Welborn, stand up bass. Joe B. Mauldin would be added on bass one week after the after the Cricket's recording of "That'll Be the Day" at Normann Petty's studios in Clovis New Mexico, 1957
Manager: Norman Petty
Buddy's guitar of choice: Accoustic: Gibson, Electric: Fender Stratocaster (sunburst) Buddy Holly played both rhythm and lead guitar.
Photo: (left to right) Nikki Sullivan, Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly and Joe Mauldin
First major recording session: January 1956, Nashville, Tennessee with Owen Bradley at Bradley's barn (quonset hut studio). Friend and musician, Sonny Curtis plays guitar and Don Guess the stand up bass. Drummer Jerry Allison can not make the sesssion as he is still in high school. Two studio musicians join the band for the recording session and definately do not play rock and roll!
First Decca release: Blue Days Black Nights/Love Me April 16, 1956
Buddy returns to Nashville in July of 1956 with drummer Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis who will once again do guitar work at the session. One of the songs recorded will be"That'll Be The Day" a song Holly and Allison had written after seeing the movie, The Searchers with John Wayne. Wayne uses the phrase "That'll Be The Day" often in the film and the boys think it would make a good song. They are right.. However, none of the songs recorded that July will be released in 1956. The fall will see Buddy once again in Nashville with Don Guess but minus Sonny Curtis who is out on the road with Slim Whitman. "Modern Don Juan/You Are My One Desire" will be released in December from that sesssion but without much success. Decca drops Buddy from the label in early 1957.
Place major hits were recorded: Norman Petty Studios, Clovis New Mexico.
Clovis is about 100 miles northwest of Lubbock and Buddy does some demos there before booking a recording session on Feb. 24, 1957. For the sum of $75, Norman Petty offers unlimited studio time to make an record and in 1957, Buddy will record several. The Feb. 24 session sees Buddy wax his hit, "That'll Be The Day", this time with more of a rock & roll beat. "That'll Be The Day" is released on Brunswick Records under the group name the Crickets. At the same time, Petty gets Buddy Holly a solo recording deal on the Coral label, ironically, a subsidy of Decca who had previously rejected his Nashville recordings. "That'll Be The Day" is released on May 27, 1957 and hits the charts in August. By September it tops the charts and becomes a million seller. Another hit, Peggy Sue released on Coral under Buddy's name will hit the charts in November and be a million seller by late December. Buddy is on his way....
Dec. 1957: Tired of touring after a grueling 80 days of riding buses and getting little sleep, Nikki Sullivan, quits the group leaving only three Crickets.
June 1958: Rave On, one of Buddy's best rockers hits the charts. Those who hate rock and roll call the record "..a good song to steal hubcaps by.."
July 22, 1958: Drummer Jerry Allison elopes with his girlfriend, Peggy Sue Gerron after whom the song Peggy Sue is named.
August 15, 1958: Buddy Holly marries Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist at Peer-Southern music in New York. (the company handling Norman Petty's publishing business). Holly proposes to Maria Elena on their first date and they are married at Buddy's parents home in Lubbock Texas soon afterward. They honeymoon in Acapulco with Jerry and Peggy Sue, and Buddy and Maria head to New York. They get an apartment on the fourth floor of the Brevoort building at 9th St. and 5the Ave. in Greenwich Village and decide to live there so Buddy can better pursue all his musical interests. Buddy also starts his break with Norman Petty.
|Aug.'58: Buddy's wedding day. Left: Peggy Sue, Buddy, Maria Elena, J.I.|
September 1958: Buddy produces friend and D.J, Waylon Jennings first singles, "Jole Blon" and "When Sin Stops Love Begins". Holly plays guitar on both songs and brings in King Curtis to play the sax. Later Buddy will put his friend Waylon to work doing something else in just four months-playing bass guitar on the Winter Dance Party tour in 1959.
Oct. 21, 1958: Buddy records his famous last sessions (without the Crickets) at New York's Pythian Temple. Violins and cellos accompany Holly as he lays down tracks for "Raining In My Heart", "True Love Ways", "It Doesn't Matter Anymore", and "Moondreams".
Oct. 28, 1958: Buddy and the Crickets perform together for the last time on American Bandstand, lip synching to "It's So Easy". A few days later, the Crickets, heavily influenced by Norman Petty, tell Buddy that they won't be moving to New York to join him. Disappointed but determined to go on, Buddy tells the boys to use the name "the Crickets" as he and Maria Elena stay in New York. Buddy Holly and the Crickets are no more. In the next couple of months, Norman Petty is fired as manager and Buddy demands any money he is owed. Not gaining ground with Petty, Holly hires a lawyer..
Nov./Dec. 1958: Buddy begins to plan his own studio in Lubbock and purchases land there. Before moving to New York Buddy forms his own record company (Prism Records) and publishing company (Taupe) in Clovis. However, fiancial matters aren't good. In spite of much negotiating, Norman Petty stubbornly refuses to give Buddy any funds. Broke and desperately needing money, Buddy contacts old friend, Irvin Feld, for whom he has toured many times in the past. Buddy asks Feld to put together a tour for him and Feld obliges. Affiliated with General Artist Corporation, the company puts together a tour of the midwest and by Dec. Feld and aide, Allen Bloom assemble the talent: Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and Frankie Sardo. Sam Geller of Baltimore Maryland is hired by Feld as tour manager and Buddy works out the financial arrangements with GAC. Plans are made for a European tour and for Feld to become Holly's manager after the Winter Dance Party. Buddy and Maria Elena spend Christmas in Lubbock with the Holley family and Buddy puts together a band while there. On Dec. 30, Holly travels to Odessa to hire session guitarist Tommy Allusp and drummer Carl Bunch (The Poor Boys) for the tour. The bass player will be old friend, Waylon Jennings who has never played electric bass before. With the band taken care of, Buddy and Marie board a flight for home in New York the next day.
Mid-Jan. 1959: Tommy Allsup, Waylon Jennings and Carl Bunch arrive in New York to stay with Buddy at his apartment for a few days to practice the music they will soon be performing on tour. Buddy cuts his now famous "apartment tapes" on a portable Ampex tape machine. Most of the tracks are just him and his Gibson accoustic guitar. Tommy Allsup does some guitar work and tries to teach Waylon the fundamentals of bass as Carl Bunch practices diligently to get Jerry Allison's drum work down pat. Both Buddy and Maria have nightmares the night before Buddy leaves for Chicago and Buddy is reluctant to leave his wife who is now expecting their first child. She begs to go on tour but Buddy says no. The next day, Buddy, Tommy, Waylon and Carl ride a train to Chicago. There they meet the other acts for a rehearsal before taking off by bus for the first stop on the Winter Dance Party tour-Jan. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Even though he had no way of knowing it, for Buddy Holly,this tour will be 11 days of frozen hell on earth... and unfortunately, the very last days of his life.
Buddy Holly was killed in the crash of a small chartered plane near Mason City Iowa on Feb 3, 1959. His music and memory live on.
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