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  • Writer's pictureDave Nemo

Musical Milestone 001: Buddy Holly

Let's take a break - or is that brake - and check out a "Musical Milestone." Looks like 1957 this time. It's the year Wham-O released the first Frisbee toys for sale. Gas was 24 cents a gallon, and Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded "That'll Be the Day."

Charles Hardin Holley was born on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock Texas. His older brothers performed in local talent shows and Buddy (he had that nickname from early childhood) sometimes joined them on violin. He couldn't play it, but his brothers greased the strings so they wouldn't sound. Buddy's brother Larry brought a guitar home from the Navy after World War II. After giving up on piano lessons, young Buddy picked up the guitar.

Today, Buddy Holly is still a big musical influence. But who influenced Buddy? For starters, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Snow, Bob Wills, and the Carter Family were high on the list. He and friend Bob Montgomery who wrote the standard "Misty Blue" and Patsy Cline's "Back In Baby's Arms," performed as Buddy and Bob in high school.

After high school in 1955, Buddy wanted to go with music full time. Elvis Presley was another major influence and Buddy was booked to open for Elvis three times that year. In October 1955, he and Bob Montgomery were on the lineup for a concert headlined by Bill Haley and His Comets.

Long story short, Marty Robbins' manager thought Buddy should be a solo artist and he arranged a demo recording session with Decca Records. That session was the beginning of his solo career, but it was short lived, as Buddy had no real artistic control. He and Decca soon parted ways. The problem was that Decca prevented him from recording any song that he'd recorded for Decca for anyone else. But Buddy did record one of those songs. "That'll be The Day" was recorded for Brunswick Records - but under the name The Crickets. Here's the punchline. Buddy didn't know at the time that Brunswick was actually a subsidiary of . . . Decca. That made it okay for him to use his name again. Well, kinda. Decca misspelled his last name and that's why we know him as Buddy Holly without the "e".

After the success of "That'll Be The Day" the hits just kept on coming. "Peggy Sue" and "Everyday" both came in late 1955. The list is long and his songs are still well known even by folks who weren't around in his day.

Does Buddy Holly have a New Orleans connection? He sure does. He recorded our own Frogman Henry's "Ain't Got No Home".

It's about time to get rollin'. We'll stop at another "Musical Milestone" soon.


Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash


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