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Died On This Date (February 3, 1959) Buddy Holly / Rock ‘n Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on February 3, 2010

Buddy Holly (Born Charles Holley)
September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959

Buddy Holly was a gifted singer-songwriter who, even though his career lasted just a year and a half, was arguably the most important figure in the birth of rock ‘n roll.  Holly was more of a traditional country artist before being inspired by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley to add elements of rockabilly into his music in 1955.  The following year, he was signed by Decca Records and formed his back-up band, the Crickets.  Over the next eighteen months, Holly released one hit single after another.  They included “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” and “Oh Boy.”  These songs became a direct influence on the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones.  Just as Holly’s career was beginning to take off, tragedy struck.  February 3, 1959…it’s been called “the day the music died.”  While on a U.S. mid west tour called the Winter Dance Party, Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens were on a small Beechcraft airplane en route from Mason City, IA to Moorhead, MN.  The winter weather was taking its toll on the traveling musicians.  Waylon Jennings had originally been slated to fly ahead, but gave up his seat to Richardson at the last minute.  Shortly after take off, the plane carrying rock ‘n roll’s brightest new stars crashed into an empty field killing everyone on board.  Initial reports blamed pilot error on Roger Peterson, but future examinations vindicated him, putting the blame squarely on the bad weather conditions.  Buddy Holly was 22 at the time of his death.

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One Response to “Died On This Date (February 3, 1959) Buddy Holly / Rock ‘n Roll Pioneer”

  1. Alan Netherwood said

    Buddy Holly is in some ways the most iconic and influential figure of all in rock and roll history. He was there at or near the beginning and inspired millions of fans and musicians with his vibrant and melodic form of music – simple but catchy and supremely rhythmic. The guitar was no prop for him as it was for for some artists – and he was a prolific songwriter. (Shame that he was somewhat ripped off when it came to giving out credits on the record label.)
    Not for him the theatrical posturing that took over many later acts – his straightforward energetic and sometimes tender music spoke for itself. Perhaps his star would have faded in time had he lived – but it’s a safe bet that there would have been plenty more indelable classics to add to the impressive amount we have even after such a meteoric, tragically short career.
    Of how many musicians can it be said that the face of music would not have been the same without their contribution? Hendrix, Chuck Berry – you can count them on one hand – but you should include Buddy among them.

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