On this day – 7th September music legend Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, Texas. In his short career Buddy Holly was pivotal in changing the face of American music forever. The extent of his influence had resulted in an Academy Award nominated film and a popular West End show “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story” based on his life and music. Rolling Stone ranked Holly #13 in “100 greatest artists of all-time”. His most popular singles include; Heartbeat, That’ll be the day, Rave on, True love ways and It doesn’t matter anymore (or at least these are my favourites).
A part of what made Holly so unique was his physical appearance and that it completely contrasted his musical style. Holly was a skinny white male and refused to take his glasses off when he performed. His music incorporated his country background and quick beat rhythm and blues. During a time when radio was king, people assumed his fast rifts were related to a black musician. You can imagine the scene when Buddy Holly and the Crickets rocked up to the Apollo Theatre, Harlem in August 1957 as the only white act; they were met with a tense hostile response from the all black crowd. It didn’t take long for Holly to turn the crowd in his favour, thus demonstrating his vital role in bridging the gap between racial equality and American music.
On 3rd February 1959, a plane crash cut Buddy Holly’s life dramatically short, leaving behind a wife married for only 6 months, pregnant with his child that would later be miscarried. The day the music died. Holly was just 22 years old.
Death at such a tender age meant that Holly is possibly not as well-known as he certainly would have been if he had a full career. However his influence changed music and his inspiration for other artists should not be underestimated. Most notably Bob Dylan and Keith Richards saw his shows as teenagers and he was the inspiration of the Stones cover of “Not Fade Away”. Other artists including Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and the Beatles cite Buddy Holly as a major influence on their work. John Lennon and his specs were only made acceptable after Buddy Holly, the original “four eyes” rocker!