Monday, February 02, 2009

Bad News On The Door Step.

This Feb 3 marks the 50th year of Buddy Holly's death.
Above is the Guardian from Feb 4th 1959. I was a paper boy in St Avards and clearly remember delivering the paper that morning. It was very icy and few people were up when I left the paper.
As I was leaving the paper at George Gregory's , his son Allan came to the door and I told him about the plane crash.

My boyhood friends and I were all Holly fans and to us this was so tragic.
I'm still a Holly fan and listen to him often.
Ged Burke wrote to Buddy's widow to tell her how sorry he felt for her at her loss, and she sent him a Christmas card.
We take for granted today our ease of listening to music on the go, but for us Teenage Bucks is was a challenge to get good music, and then a miracle. John Paul Kenny came up with a converter that changed 6volt DC to 120 AC and we were in business. We hooked up the converter to the car battery and took our household record player with us to listen to our music.
Many night a bunch of us would sit in the Hearse and listen to Buddy Holly on our record player and wonder what music would have been like if Buddy had lived.
Driving presented a problem and the guy in the back had to hold the record player on his knees as we tore around town blaring our music out the windows. He had to be able to be steady and not let the kneedle skip.
In 1979 I purcased a 6 album set of Buddy's work.
It was compiled by a couple of his English fans.

It includes his early stuff with Bob Montgomery " Buddy & Bob western and Bop".

It includes a country version of "That'll Be The Day"
The set includes his home recordings, that, after his death backup music by "The FireBalls " was added and released.
I've only plyaed the records twice.
In 1979 on the 20th anniversary I sat down one saturday and listened to all 6 LP's both sides, all alone.
When I finished listening to them, I got on the phone with the Lubbock operator and tried to get through to his parents but they had an unlisted number. But i did get his brother Larry and talked to him for about an hour.
And yes I did get to his grave in Lubbock.

I do remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride.
past saturday night "Cousin Brucey" hosted a reunion of the surviours of that Winter Tour at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake , Iowa.

The 1959 calendar is indentical to 2009.

50 years, Willie Nelson was right,
"Ain't it funny how time slips away"

Here is an article from A British Paper

Buddy Holly's wife tells how she'll pay tribute with fans 50 years after tragedy

FEBRUARY 3, 1959 was the day the music died...when a plane crash claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.

The tiny aircraft Holly hired to fly them to a gig plummeted to earth at 170mph in an Iowa snowstorm. Buddy was 22, The Big Bopper 27 and Ritchie just 17.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of their deaths, Holly's widow told the Sunday Mail he only signed up for the fateful tour to earn money to prepare for the birth of their first child.

On Tuesday, Maria Elena Holly, 73, will gather with fans at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa - the venue for his last ever performance - to celebrate his life.

She was ill in bed with morning sickness when she heard the awful news.

Maria said: "I got a telephone call from a friend saying, 'Maria Elena, stay in bed and don't put the TV on'.

"Of course, I got up, turned it on and saw a news report saying Buddy, The Big Bopper and Ritchie had been killed.

"I collapsed crying my heart out and within minutes the house was besieged by newspaper men. I was devastated and the shock was so traumatic I later miscarried and lost our child."

One of the first telephone calls of condolence Maria Elena received was from a young American serviceman posted in Germany.

She said: "Elvis Presley called to say how sorry he was. Buddy had opened for Elvis in his home town of Lubbock, Texas, and they became good friends. They used to hang out." Maria Elena - from San Juan, Puerto Rico,

And it was love at first sight at least for the singer who had classic hits with songs such as That'll Be The Day, Not Fade Away and Peggy Sue. Maria Elena said: "I had never been out on a date with a guy in my life.

"I lived with my aunt who was very strict and didn't want me to hang around with musicians.

It wasn't that she didn't trust me - she just didn't want me to go out with every Tom, Dick and Harry and at that time rock'n'rollers had a very bad reputation.

"I used to mail Buddy's records out to radio disc jockeys but when he walked through the door I had no idea who he was.

"He asked me out on the spot and we went out for dinner that night."

Maria Elena and Buddy went on a date to PJB Arthur's Restaurant and she almost fell off her chair when he proposed, just five hours after first setting eyes on her.

She said: "He excused himself and left the table.

When he came back he had one arm behind his back.

Buddy pulled out a red rose and said, 'Will you marry me?' "I thought he was kidding.

But I think I'd fallen in love with him the minute he walked through the door."

The couple married two months later on August 15, 1958 in Lubbock.

Maria became pregnant and they moved into their own appartment.

But Holly was going through a bitter and costly legal dispute with record producer Norman Petty and the newlyweds struggled to pay bills.

Maria Elena said: "My aunt got us an apartment on 11th Street and she paid the bills because we had no money.

"Buddy wasn't very comfortable with that. His money was tied up in the difficult break up with Norman and he said, 'I need to do something.

I can't have your aunt pay for everything.

I'm supposed to take care of you.' "He decided to try to get a gig to earn some money."

Buddy agreed to top the bill of a two-week tour with The Big Bopper - DJ turned singer JP Richardson - who was promoting his now classic song Chantilly Lace - and heart-throb singer Ritchie Valens, who was launching his single Donna.

As they hit the road on the badly organised tour - in the grip of a sub-zero winter - conditions were spartan.

When the heating on the bus broke down Ritchie's drummer was taken to hospital suffering from frostbite After playing the Surf Ballroom, Buddy paid 108 to hire a Beechcraft Bonanza plane to transport him to the next show in Minnesota.

But he didn't tell Maria Elena he would be travelling by air instead of road.

She said: "Buddy called me every night from each gig but in Iowa he never mentioned a plane to me. He knew I didn't like those small aircraft.

"He'd get one of the guys to hold the telephone up while he was on stage singing his closing number True Love Ways - the song he wrote for me.

"He told me everybody had flu and as there was no road manager he took it upon himself to organise alternative transport.

"There were only three seats on the plane, one for Buddy and his guitarists Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup."

Then fate defined one of the most iconic moments in pop history.

The Big Bopper had flu and asked Buddy if he could take Waylon's seat. Ritchie pleaded with Tommy to swap places with him. The friends tossed a coin and when Valens called correctly he boarded the doomed flight.

"I hope your ol' bus freezes up again," joked Holly as they set off.

Waylon replied: "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes." As news of the crash spread around the world fans mourned the death of the iconic Holly.

One teenage admirer was so moved he wrote a song about the incident years later when he became a musician himself.

His name was Don McLean and the song he wrote was the classic American Pie which includes the famous lyric, I can't remember if I cried/When I read about his widowed bride/But something touched me deep inside/The day the music died.

Holly's body lies in the City of Lubbock Cemetery beneath a headstone which carries the correct spelling of his surname - Holley - carved in the shape of his beloved Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Maria Elena, who eventually remarried and had three children, has never visited his graveside.

She divorced and is now a grandmother living in Dallas.

She admits Tuesday's commemorative celebrations will be very emotional.

But the devotion of fans has helped her over the years.

She said: "Fifty years after Buddy passed on his music is still alive.

His fans have stayed loyal and he'll always be remembered.

"That's something I take great comfort from.

Losing him was heartbreaking.

I'm thrilled his music is still played and enjoyed all over the world.

It means Buddy didn't die in vain."

Holly inspired a host of superstars including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. John, Paul, George and Ringo named their group as a homage to his backing band The Crickets while Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts chalked up their first Top 10 hit with a cover of his song Not Fade Away in 1964.

Maria Elena says her husband would be amazed at his current status as a pop icon.

She said: "Buddy was not the kind of person to boast about his success.

"He never saw himself as a superstar.

He was just happy he was so prolific with his songwriting and that he was being accepted.

"He knew exactly what he wanted to do and in which direction he wanted his career to go.

He was a very modest man, it was never a case of look who I am.

"If he were alive today I think he would still have been writing songs and making music.

He wanted to get involved in all facets of the industry."

And what is Maria Elena's favourite Holly classic?

She said: "I love all of his songs because no two are like.

But I'd have to choose True Love Ways because it was our song.

"When he wrote it he said, 'This is for you'.

In every tour he did he played it last in the set.

"It's difficult for me to listen to True Love Ways if it comes on the radio.

I still get tears in my eyes and I have to stop and compose myself."

THE Very Best of Buddy Holly and The Crickets double CD and The Music of Buddy Holly: The Definitive Story DVD are released through Universal Records tomorrow.

Stage musical The Buddy Holly Story is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow from February 2-7 and Inverness Eden Court Theatre from April 13-18.


HE was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas, on September 7, 1936. His career lasted just 18 months yet he was hailed the most creative force in rock 'n' roll.

BUDDY'S first recording was a cover of Hank Snow's country song My Two Timin' Woman done on a borrowed tape machine. He turned to rock 'n' roll after Elvis Presley played in Lubbock.

HE signed a record deal with Decca in 1956 and recorded That'll Be The Day...his classic song inspired by a line spoken by John Wayne in the Western epic The Searchers.

WHEN Buddy first toured the UK in 1957 he appeared on top TV variety show Sunday Night At The London Palladium. Teenage viewers John Lennon and Paul McCartney became instant fans.

ROLLING Stone Keith Richards saw Holly play Not Fade Away and suggested his own group cover it. The Hollies were named to honour Buddy.

ANOTHER famous Holly fan was Bob Dylan. He saw him play just three nights before the plane crash.

HOLLY made it cool for pop singers to wear glasses. Look at Hank Marvin, Elvis Costello, Kurt Cobain, Jarvis Cocker and The Proclaimers.

PAUL McCARTNEY bought publishing rights to Holly's back catalogue and dressed as him in his 1980 Coming Up video.

IN 1987, Gary Busey was nominated for an Oscar for best actor when he starred in the The Buddy Holly Story.

HOLLY has influenced The Ramones, Run DMC and The Strokes. Blink 182 wrote Peggy Sue in his honour and Weezer have a song called Buddy Holly.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN plays Holly hits before every gig to help vibe him up. The Boss said: "That keeps me honest." - was a receptionist for Peer-Southern Music Publishing in New York when she first met Buddy in 1958.


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine went to the Ohio event this past weekend - he is a BIG Holly fan. I haven't spoken to him since he went but I suspect it was one of those once in a lifetime things.



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