50 Years ago Today

Buddy Holly was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll.

Buddy Holly

Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time

Contrary to popular belief, teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not attend a Holly concert, although they watched his TV appearance on "Sunday Night at the London Palladium"; Tony Bramwell, a school friend of McCartney and George Harrison, did. Bramwell met Holly, and freely shared his records with them. Lennon and McCartney later cited Holly as a primary influence. (Their band's name, The Beatles, was chosen partly in homage to Holly's Crickets.) The Beatles did a cover version of "Words of Love" that was a close reproduction of Holly's version. Paul McCartney's band Wings recorded their version of Love is Strange on their first album Wild Life. McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's song catalogue.

A young Bob Dylan attended the January 1959 show, two nights before Holly's death. Dylan referred to this in his 1998 Grammy acceptance speech for his 1997 Time out of Mind winning Album of the Year:

And I just want to say that when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him...and he LOOKED at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was — I don't know how or why — but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way.



I put every nickel I could get into a giant Wurlitzer at our local soda shop ( big as a refrigerator and looked like flames shooting thru the glass top) to hear C7 . . . Party Doll . Well, maybe it wasn't C7. But, anyway . . . . . ***************************************************************************************** Buddy Holly sings Rave On and John Lennon sings Rave On

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