Facts about Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly was an American singer, songwriter, and musician who rose to fame alongside Elvis Presley and other music icons in the 1950s rock and roll era, but tragically died in a plane crash at the age of just 22. He was born Charles Hardin Holley on September 7th, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas, to a family of musicians during the Great Depression, he learned to play guitar and sing with his siblings.
Buddy Holly’s first instrument was the piano.
Buddy Holly had three older siblings named Patricia Lou, Travis, and Larry.
Hank Williams was Buddy Holly’s earliest musical influence.
Buddy got the nickname Buddy while still a child because his mother felt that his given name was too much for a young child.
Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ one and only British tour took place in March 1958.
Buddy changed his last name to Holly from Holley after it was misspelled on a recording contract and he determined he liked it better.
A young Des O’ Connor was one of the four acts who toured with Buddy Holly and the Crickets.
Buddy Holly played regularly on the radio after high school with a friend from elementary school named Bob Montgomery. They played country and western music under the name Buddy and Bob.
‘Peggy Sue’, a well-known Buddy Holly song, was originally called ‘Cindy Lou’, but he changed it at the request of Jerry Allison, who wanted the song to be named after his girlfriend.
When Buddy Holly saw Elvis Presley perform he began to change his music style from country and western to rock and roll.
On 1st July 1976, Paul McCartney purchased the rights to Buddy Holly’s entire song catalogue.
Buddy Holly and his band began recording demos and singles as Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes in 1956 in Nashville. By 1957 the band name had been changed to The Crickets and Buddy wrote the song That’ll Be the Day and recorded it with The Crickets that same year. It became their breakthrough hit.
Two films have been made about Buddy Holly; one in 1978 and a second in 1987 ‘The Real Buddy Holly Story, narrated by lifelong fan Paul McCartney.
From August of 1957 to August of 1958 Buddy Holly and The Crickets recorded seven top 40 singles.
In Don McLean’s 1971 hit ‘American Pie’, the lyric ‘the day the music died’ referred to Holly’s tragic early death.
Buddy Holly split from The Crickets in October 1958 and moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Elvis Presley lent Buddy Holly his own personal guitar to use for his performance.
In 1959 Buddy Holly agreed to tour with The Winter Dance Party tour across the Midwest to meet with financial and legal issues that arose from his breakup with his band. Transportation for the tour was not ideal and the tour buses were not heated and broke down twice. This prompted Buddy Holly to find another mode of transportation.
Holly met a young girl named Maria Elena Santiago while she was working as a receptionist at the offices of a music publishing company in New York City. After seeing her around the office a few times, Holly decided to ask her out. Having never been on a date before, Santiago nervously told him that he needed to ask for her aunt’s permission before she could agree. After getting the okay from auntie, the couple went out. It was love at first sight. Partway through the evening, Holly pulled out a rose and unexpectedly proposed to Santiago on the spot. The couple tied the knot later that same year.
Buddy Holly charted a plane that would take him, Tommy Allsup, and Waylon Jennings from Clear Lake, Iowa to Moorhead, Minnesota. Tommy Allsup gave up his seat on the flight to Ritchie Valens and Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to J.P. Richardson, also known as The Big Bopper. On February 3rd, 1959, at 1:00am the plane crashed into a cornfield during bad weather, killing all three passengers and the pilot on impact.
Buddy Holly’s funeral was held on February 7th, officiated by the minister who had married Buddy Holly and Maria Elena only months earlier.
Musician Don McLean recorded the song American Pie inspired by Buddy Holly and his tragic death.
The biographical film The Buddy Holly Story was released in 1978 but was met with criticism because of errors. Paul McCartney then produced a more accurate documentary titled The Real Buddy Holly Story in 1985.