Buddy Holly and the Crickets



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Charles Hardin Holley aka Buddy had his surname misspelled in an early contract, thus taking Buddy Holly as his professional name. He was perhaps the finest songwriter of the first rock generation, give or take Chuck Berry

He was born September 7, 1936. He was married after but weeks of courtship to Maria Elena Santiago on August 15, 1958. He famously died less than six months later, on February 3, 1959 when his chartered four passenger plane crashed into an Iowa cornfield en route to Fargo, North Dakota. 

Here's a little blurb I found about his religious background on an evangelical website:

From: David W. Cloud, "1950s Rock -- Creating a Revolution", distributed by Way of Life Literature's Fundamental Baptist Information Service, copyright 2001 (http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/1950srock.htm):
Buddy Holly (1936-1959) was one of the founders of rock & roll, and his influence is vast... Holly was born in Lubbock, Texas, and grew up in the Tabernacle Baptist Church, a fundamental Baptist congregation. His father and older brothers served in various capacities at Tabernacle. Buddy made a public profession of faith in Christ and was baptized at age 14, but his life did not exhibit good evidence of regeneration... Buddy Holly professed Christ, but he never lived for Christ. Sadly, he was far more interested in rocking and rolling than in glorifying Jesus Christ. Buddy Holly's biographer notes: "He became sexually adventurous, a moral outlaw in his time. . ." (Ellis Amburn, Buddy Holly, p. 4). In his teens, Buddy began disobeying his Christian parents, staying out late, drinking, smoking, shoplifting, gambling, carousing with immoral women. Buddy's friend Sonny Curtis remembers him as "a drinker--loud, a smart aleck, head-strong." Even after publicly professing Christ and being baptized, Buddy told his friends that he had no intention to stop his sinful ways. From time to time, Buddy expressed some remorse for his wicked life... Buddy's older brother, Larry, who is still a member and a trustee at Tabernacle Baptist, believes Buddy was saved but backslidden and the Lord took him home because of his stubborn rebellion (Amburn, p. 54)... The late Pastor Ben Johnson, who baptized Buddy, testified to E.L. Bynum, the current pastor of Tabernacle, that not long before he died, Buddy told him that he intended to get out of the rock & roll business after he made enough to get out of debt. (This was related to me in a telephone conversation with Pastor Bynum, August 9, 2000). Instead of getting right with the Lord and obeying the Bible, though, Buddy pursued his self-willed course and was destroyed in his youth... instead of shining the light of God's holiness into this fallen, needy world through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Buddy Holly used his music and lifestyle to promote moral license and to help create the debauched rock & roll society.

Having no other source for these details, you might consider the details apocryphal.  I emphasize that particularly because I would consider this to reflect badly on his brother if it is accurate.  Yet the whole story rings true to me.  Not the voodoo part about God causing a plane crash and killing four people to get him because Buddy had been getting some- particularly since he'd been happily married for half a year at the time.  But I can imagine some good Baptist Texan taking that kind of attitude.  

Moreover, the idea of Buddy being rather more of a sinner than his utterly pure public image sounds right.  He was, ya know, a ROCK STAR.  I was struck years ago by a story Little Richard has told in which Buddy walked in on him being serviced by a groupie backstage and ended up in the thick of it.  But my guess would be that he was dialing it down after he got married.  That would be classic evangelical behavior, going hog wild for a couple of years in rebellion against a strict upbringing, and getting it out of the system.  Not knowing the facts, I'll just say that in my personal mythology, a little sin makes squeaky clean Buddy Holly more interesting.   

Anyway, in his 22 short years, Buddy Holly became somebody.  He wrote "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" and my personal favorite, "Rave On."  In so doing, he also became one of the prime inspirations for my hero Elvis Costello.  Indeed, he inspired a lot of people- though most of them aren't quite as talented as Elvis Costello.  There are a BUNCH of Buddy impersonators.  Think Pulp Fiction.

I've got 18 pages of Buddy Holly images, close to a hundred of them.  Pages 15 and 16 have wedding pictures.

Stuff related to the crash is on page 17, as I'm not having that stupid accident as the final word on this cool guy.  The several years of music he made is of far more significance to me than the last few minutes, which aren't particularly any reflection on his character or personality anyway.  Carrying on about "the day the music died" doesn't really say anything about HIM at all.

Besides which, the music did NOT die in February of 1959.  Buddy's gone, and so is Elvis Presley.  But like a wise man said, you can't stop the music.  Elvis Costello's still going strong, for one thing.  The king is dead, long live the king!


Buddy Holly

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