Monday, 13 May 2013

The Day the Music Died: An Introduction to Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly Songs Lyrics American Pie The Crickets Top 10

We’ve all heard that Elvis Presley is the King of Rock & Roll.  While Buddy Holly’s untimely death at the age of 22 prevents him from ever achieving such a title, his contributions to rock n’ roll radically changed the genre in succeeding years.

Buddy Holly was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas.  As a teenager, he performed in the duo Buddy and Bob with Bob Montgomery.  Through this Holly discovered his true passion for music, which was cemented after an opening performance for Elvis Presley.  He formed the group ‘The Crickets”, who found success with their song, “That’ll Be The Day”, soon followed with “Oh Boy!” and “Peggy Sue”.  In 1958 he went solo and married Maria Elena – who he proposed to on their first date!  Holly continued to record emotionally rich and powerful songs, until his fateful death by plane crash on the 3rd of February 1959, along with other noted acts. 

Holly’s performance with the Crickets at the Apollo Theater in New York had a massive influence on the racial divide in rock n’ roll.  The unique vocal “hiccup”, known as the “holly hop”, is something that has been recreated in many subsequent rock n’ roll songs.  While I don’t understand the technical aspects of recording and producing music enough to comment on Holly’s contributions, it was clear from the start that his innovations would change rock n’ roll, and music in general, forever.

Listening to Holly’s voice is mesmerizing.  It reminds me of those toys we all had at one point growing up – the one’s that would continuously wobble back & forth, around & around.  No matter how long you sat and watched it, awaiting its seemingly undeniable crash, it never hit the ground.  His voice demonstrates the same eccentric highs and lows and he impressively manages to turn the word “well” into 6 syllables!

In line with his tone, Holly’s music is a guide to the highs and lows of life and relationships, with “Oh Boy!” to accentuate the highs and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” to get through the lows.  It’s not easy to choose only 10 Buddy Holly songs, so I’ll have to deem this my provisional Top 10 – in no particular order:

Rave On
Blue Days, Black Nights
Ting-A-Ling
Early In The Morning
That’ll Be The Day
Not Fade Away
Rock Around With Ollie Vee
Maybe Baby
Oh Boy!
It Doesn’t Matter Anymore


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