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Holly was killed in a plane crash along with Richie Valens and The Big Bopper in 1959. Holly's guitar player Tommy Allsup was not on the plane because he gave up his seat to Valens. The crash was caused by bad weather and a 21-year-old pilot who was not qualified to fly in low visibility using just instruments. To read the aircraft incident report, you can download it here. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Holly was on the "Winter Dance Party" tour when he was killed. He was flying from a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, North Dakota. In the early years of Rock and Roll, musicians often took dangerous chances getting where they needed to be.
The Beatles chose their name partly as a takeoff on Holly's backup band, The Crickets.
A movie about his life, The Buddy Holly Story, was released in 1978 starring Gary Busey, who sang Holly's songs himself for the film. Keith Moon of The Who died of an overdose the day after seeing this movie.
In Don McLean's "American Pie," "The day the music died" is the plane crash that killed Holly.
In the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, John Travolta has a Buddy Holly lookalike as a waiter. He is not a good waiter.
Holly's last concert was at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa the night before his crash.
Buddy Holly and The Crickets were the first white group to play the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They were booked there in 1957 by a promoter who assumed they were black. Their show went over well.
Paul McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's songs.
His group, The Crickets, continued to perform after his death.
In 1980, Holly's famous horn-rimmed glasses were discovered in a police file in Iowa, where they had been since his death.
Some evidence of Holly's influence: The Beatles got their name from the Crickets. The Hollies named themselves after Buddy Holly. The Rolling Stones first hit was the Buddy Holly song "Not Fade Away." Tommy Roe's self-penned "Shiela" was heavily influenced by "Peggy Sue."
The Crickets' 1957 debut album, The "Chirping" Crickets was the only LP to feature Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime.

Get Songfacts for Buddy Holly

What famous singer is the inspiration for a 2007 movie where 6 different actors portray him?
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Comments:

The trio was flying from Mason City (near Clear Lake) to Fargo. This was the nearest airport to the city of their next show, which was in Moorhead, MN.
- Charlie, McLean, VA
I always thought the plane was going to Minnesota
for the rock entertainers next show. Can anyone verify. P.S. I was stationed in Fort Knox writing a letter to my girl, listening to the radio when I heard the news about the crash and wrote about it.
- brady, Niagara Falls, NY
I hear there is live footage of the plane crash site.. right after it happed (1959)!!its about 45 mins long does any one eles know about this..
- terry, GOLDSBORO , NC
Would you believe?

I have Items featured from the Surf Ballroom.

This is a rock (yes, I said rock) from the field where the plane crashed carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J.P. Richardson and pilot, Roger Peterson.

One photo of the memorial in the field with a guitar, steel records, sign and pictures of items left my many fans that come to visit it every year.

The backside states: "The Day the Music Died" This rock is from the Iowa Farm where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson, and their pilot Roger Peterson met their fate on a cold winter's night February 3, 1959.

What else can I say? If you are a collector of Buddy Holly you won't want to miss this piece of history.

The memorial site is quite awesome in February when fans come from all over the U.S.A. to pay tribute to Buddy. I live in Clear Lake, Iowa not far from the crash site and visit it quite often and enjoy all the items left.

Email me for more information and price. Thanks
jason_springs@hotmail.com
- jason, clear lake, IA
Who now owns the remains of the plane that Buddy Holly was killed on? Also, was there ever a musician who had the last name Roberts or Robinson that played with Buddy's band?
- Paul, louisville, KY
tommy allsup "gave up his seat" to Richie valens under not exactly normal circumstances. after holly said tommy would be flying with him and waylon, tommy gambled it away. he and valens flipped a coin to see who would go on the plane. tommy called tails and lost. it's true; read waylon's autobiography, he saw it all.
- Sam, Pendleton, OR
chris, from dalas: the name of holly's original bass player was, i think, joe mauldin
- Sam, Pendleton, OR
this is to nate from fort collins, co. if you read waylon jennings' autobiography,you would know that waylon wasn't ill, it was the big bopper that was. the bus had trouble with the heater and big bopper was sick, so waylon gave his seat to the bopper. after he found out about this, holly told waylon "i hope your damn bus freezes" to wich waylon responded "well i hope your plane crashes". the friendly banter would haunt waylon for years
- Sam, Pendleton, OR
Since I posted that one comment, I have heard more Buddy Holly songs, and I have also seen a production of The Buddy Holly Story which was held in Greenville South Carolina, which my sister lit. I was amazed at how much the guy who played Buddy Holly sounded like him! Apparently, he even looked and move like him too! My sister told me that the gguy said that he had also seen the Buddy Holly Story, when he was six years old, and that he had been training to play that role ever since. I'm serious! He sounded just like Buddy Holly!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Buddy Holly in my opinion is one of the best preformers ever. I just love his glasses
- Amy, Grimshaw, Canada
Oh - and Chris, did you mean before Joe B. Maudlin, the Cricket's bass player? There was a guy named Larry Welborn who played with him and Bob Montgomery.
- Mark, New Orleans, LA
This is inspiring seeing people as in love with Buddy Holly & the Crickets as I am. On that long-cancelled VH1 show "The List", one group was asked to name, in their opinion, the top three "rock stars" of all time. Mine: 3) Little Richard. 2) Chuck Berry. 1) Buddy Holly. Without these three there is no rock n' roll. Buddy barely makes number one based on his unquestionable diversity and experimentation, forging new ground on which later bands built their sound.
Damn, I sound like a dork. But I love Buddy Holly.
- Mark, New Orleans, LA
i haven't really listened that much to Buddy holly's records and songs, but hes saw unmistakably a very influential artist who influenced a lot of people with his guitar playing, his performances, his songs, and his unique voice and style of singing. It's ashame he died so young. If he had lived longer, he probably would have influenced more people, nad would have played more music. Obviously though, his place in music history was already secure when he died.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Who was Buddy Holly's original bass player?
- Chris, Dallas, TX
I never met Buddy but I knew Norman Petty and Ben Hall. Norman, as has already been reported, owned a studio in Clovis New Mexico - Ben owned a studio in Big Spring, Texas. Ben Hall I beleive may have known Buddy first? At least Ben told me that he did help on some of the songs that Buddy wrote - one "True Love Ways" which he says his contribution on was never acknowledged. Ben, as he told me, played country and gospel music and he didn't understand Buddy's music and I believe referred Buddy to Norman Petty who at one time had a trio called "The Norman Petty Trio" and recorded for one of major recording labels of late 40's and early 50's - I want to say Columbia! He felt that Norman would understand Buddy's music better. "Big Mistake" - Ben said to me once!
hldeshazo@aol.com
- Howard, Santa Fe, NC
The 1959 Winter Tour started with a show at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI. The Eagles Ballroom, dispite some hard times, is still standing and still hosting rock and roll shows.
- Ed, Milwaukee, WI
Yes, Buddy Holly was great and I never get tired of listening to his music; however it annoys me that his "widow" after 46 years still takes advantage of his name, making a fortune off of it. Especially since she remarried and raised 3 children. Her and Buddy were not married that long and I'm sure Buddy must have had other family members. I'm glad at least that someone as great as Paul McCartney owns the rights to his music. At least he appreciates it.
- Shirley, Ocean, NJ
I was born 27 years too late to have ever seen or meet Buddy Holly , but none the less he is the most influencial and brilliant artist that it has evre been sheer pleasure to listen to. The second I heard my mom playing "That'll be the day" on her old record player, I ran out and bought my first Buddy Holly CD. I now own over 10, as well as the movie,documentries and hundreds of photos.I am only 18 years, old so naturally none of my friends understand my obsession. However this has not lessend my enthusiasum about the man,as most of my narrow minded friends have never taken the oppertunity to allow Buddy's buetiful voice and rythimic guitar talents to sweep them of ther feet. Buddy Holly was the fundemental father of modern rock and roll, and deserves his due credit.Buddy created my passion for music ,as well as for countless others .And for that I'd like to say my infinate thanks,and to express my sorrow for never having the oppertunity to see the ledgend at work.
- erin cochran, calgary, Canada
There's been so many quotes about Buddy Holly, and I think that my three favorites were said by Waylon Jennings, Jerry Allison, and an anyomous source."People ask me where I thought music would have taken Buddy. I say that they're asking the wrong question and the question is 'where would Buddy have taken music?" -Waylon Jennings. "When someone like Paul Macarteny says 'without the Crickets, there would be no Beatles, I say 'Excuse me? I'd like to hear that again!"-JI, and, the best way to explain Buddy's influence to today: "Q: How many people did Buddy Holly influence? A: How many days do you got?" Born 28 years and 2 months too late to ever meet or see this rock and roller, his music stands in this timeless void for me. My friends don't get what I love about his music. Listen to the drum. Mr. Jerry Allison could play anything, and he didn't always need a drum kit and sticks. Listen to the way that the drum and guitar talk to each other. Listen to the guitar riffs. Think about how fast the guitarist's hands were moving, because he makes just 4 chords sound like a million and a half different sounds. Listen to the way Buddy manipulates the words with his voice. Finally, listen to the words. They still stand true today. The man was ahead of his time, and I wonder how happy he would have been in this time, where other musicians embraced the idea of crossover music, where over dubbing, or double tracking is incrediably common, where duets with other artists are looked forward too, and finally, where rock and roll is one of the most common types of music, with the old and young. I never knew the man personally, nor none of his family, and I never will, least ways til I get to heaven, so I don't want to assume anything. But Buddy, I sure hope you can hear us.
- Kristy, Toronto, Canada
Biography

Considered one of the founding fathers of rock 'n roll, Buddy Holly demonstrated his love for music early in life. As a child, Holly learned to play the violin and the piano. However, he soon discovered a preference for the guitar. Holly's parents, Laurence and Ella Holley, continuously supported the young artist in his musical ventures. By age 13, Holly and his friend Bob Montgomery were playing a kind of music they called "Western Bop," as well as mainstream country songs which they performed at local clubs.

Holly's first opportunity in the music industry came when a scout from Decca Records saw the duo opening a local rock show for Bill Haley and the Comets. Decca signed Holly, alone, to produce a few singles. Afterward, however, Decca decided Holly wasn't quite ready yet, and they advised him to return to Lubbock and keep working on his music. Holly followed the advice, and with the help of some friends formed his own band, "The Crickets." Holly was the group's guitarist and vocalist. Much of the band's music was produced by Norman Petty's studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Among the songs they recorded was a lively version of "That'll Be the Day," which caught Decca's attention once again. From that moment on, the group's songs were released on Decca's subsidiary, the Brunswick label.

The group's music talent, together with Holly's unique "excited" style of singing, quickly made them a success. Songs such as "Maybe Baby," "Oh Boy!" and Holly's solo hit "Peggy Sue" became extremely popular, especially among teenagers.

Holly and the Crickets also entered areas of music such as rhythm and blues, which until then had been exclusive to black artists. Once they were even mistaken for a black group and booked to perform at the Apollo Theater. Although at first the band was booed, by their third day of performing they had become a hit.

The Crickets were also extremely successful abroad. In March of 1958, they toured Great Britain, and eventually became more popular there than in the United States. Later that same year, Holly met Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist for a New York City music publisher. Two weeks later, they were married. After a short honeymoon, the couple returned to Lubbock, Holly's home town. Feeling that the Crickets could produce their own music, Holly broke relations with Petty. However, the rest of the group didn't agree, and this caused Holly to leave the group. Soon afterwards, Holly and Maria Elena moved to New York where he performed with a new group of musicians.

In 1959, as part of a rock show, Holly toured with Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper," J.P. Richardson. They began the tour riding from performance to performance in buses, which kept breaking down. One day, after a concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a small plane to get the musicians to the next town. He had hoped to get them there with extra time to rest. On the morning of February 3rd, the plane carrying Holly, Valens and Richardson took off from Mason City, Iowa. Sadly, the plane crashed after traveling eight miles, and everyone on board was killed.

Maria Elena, pregnant at the time of Holly's tragic death, miscarried shortly after hearing the news. Years later, she remarried and raised three children. Maria Elena now lives in Texas and is a vibrant grandmother who tours the world promoting her first husband's legacy.

Despite a rather short career on the charts, Holly's innovative style, as well as his enthusiastic and energetic performances, made him one of the most popular singers in music history.
- David, Antioch, CA
Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to the Big Bopper because he felt ill that day and decided to take the bus. Ever since the crash, Jennings felt that since he should have been the one in the plane he had the weight of the Bopper's death on his shoulders. On another note, the Buddy Holly waiter in Pulp Fiction is played by Steve Buschemi, better known for his roles in Reservoir Dogs, Con Air and Fargo.
- Nate, Fort Collins, CO
American Pie, however, was NOT the name of the plane which killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. Mr. McLean made up the phrase himself.
- Matthew, Shrewsbury, England
This is from "Rave On"_ by Philip Norman:

'One of Buddy's favorite R & B groups was the Spiders, and a few nights later he, J.I. Allison, and Niki Sullivan sat in J.I.'s bedroom, going through the entymological [sic] section of an encyclopedia in the hope of finding some
other creepy-crawly with which to baptize themselves. They thought, prophetically, of the Beetles, but discarded it when J.I. protested that
he didn't want to be named after "a little black bug you'd step on."'
- David, Lubbock, TX
Born and reared in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy is still considered Lubbock's claim to fame and "favorite son". Unfortunately, Lubbock does not have an annual "Buddy Holly Festival" because his widow, Maria Elena still owns the rights to his name and thus demands a pretty penny to use it. She fully intends to live off his name until she dies.
- David, Lubbock, TX
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