Fifty years ago today my relatively serene childhood was cruelly upended by the sudden death of my idol, Buddy Holly, in a plane crash in the corn fields of Iowa.
This precocious twenty-two-year old rock & roll singer/songwriter/guitarist was lost to the world after writing and recording an inspiring body of work in three short years. (I would argue that Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly were the prime R&R movers in the '50s.)
Buddy's distinctive vocal phrasing and original hits—including 'Not Fade Away', 'That'll Be the Day', 'Peggie Sue', 'Oh, Boy', 'Rave On', 'Maybe Baby', and 'Everyday'—had a major impact on rock for decades.
From John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Richard, and Bob Dylan in the '60s… to Elvis Costello and Marshall Crenshaw in the '70s… to Weezer in the '90s, the great ones all acknowledged (through their music) their debt to Buddy. Lennon even named the Beatles after Buddy's band, the Crickets.
As a young tyke I saw Buddy once on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 and never recovered. (I've been fighting—and losing—a lifelong battle with the rockin' pneumonia ever since.)
Here's Buddy and the Crickets performing 'Peggy Sue' on Arthur Murray's Dance Club in 1958. It's a quiet performance by these 'rock & roll specialists' (not much going on in the Arthur Murray mosh pit) but the introduction by the hostess is priceless and shows the '50s culture trying to come to grips with this new disruption.
The rock & roll business lesson here? If you want to get attention (in any field), #*&^%@! the existing paradigm. Rave on, Buddy.