Buddy Holly is still making fans 46 years later!

Like most of my generation, we learned of Buddy Holly when Don McClean released "American Pie."  

I just remember reading the lyrics and asking a friend: what's this guy singing about?   

He said: "Buddy Holly, the guy who sings 'Peggy Sue.'"   

We didn't have YouTube or downloads back in the 1970s.  So I went to the record store and bought me a copy of a "best of" Buddy Holly vinyl LP.  I became a fan instantly when I heard those guitar riffs and catchy songs, like "That'll Be the Day" and "Maybe Baby."

It was 46 years ago today that Buddy Holly (along with Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper) were killed in a plane crash.  I don't think that anyone in 1959 had a clue that we'd be talking about them so many years later.

Holly touched a nerve with his music.  One of his biggest fans was a teenager in Liverpool, Paul McCartney.  (The Beatles recorded "Words of Love" in a 1965 LP.)

Holly's impact was huge, as Phillip Norman wrote from the U.K.:

Holly and Elvis Presley are the two seminal figures of Fifties rock 'n' roll, the place where modern rock culture began. Virtually everything we hear on CD or see on film or the concert stage can be traced back to those twin towering icons – Elvis with his drape jacket and swivelling hips and Buddy in big black glasses, brooding over the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.

But Presley's contribution to original, visceral rock 'n' roll was little more than that of a gorgeous transient; having unleashed the world-shaking new sound, he soon forsook it for slow ballads, schlock movie musicals and Las Vegas cabarets. 

Holly, by contrast, was a pioneer and a revolutionary. 

His was a multidimensional talent which seemed to arrive fully formed in a medium still largely populated by fumbling amateurs. 

The songs he co-wrote and performed with his backing band the Crickets remain as fresh and potent today as when recorded on primitive equipment in New Mexico [sic] half a century ago: That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Not Fade Away.

To call someone who died at 22 "the father of rock" is not as fanciful as it seems. 

As a songwriter, performer and musician, Holly is the progenitor of virtually every world-class talent to emerge in the Sixties and Seventies. 

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen all freely admit they began to play only after Buddy taught them how. 

Though normal-sighted as a teenager, Elton John donned spectacles in imitation of the famous Holly horn-rims and ruined his eyesight as a result.

We will never know what other great songs Holly would have recorded.  We do know that he had a monumental influence on rock groups and even country stars.

Who knows what kids in 2059 will be listening to?  I'll bet you that quite a few will be marking the 100th anniversary of Holly's death.

P.S. You can hear my show, CantoTalk, or follow me on Twitter.

Like most of my generation, we learned of Buddy Holly when Don McClean released "American Pie."  

I just remember reading the lyrics and asking a friend: what's this guy singing about?   

He said: "Buddy Holly, the guy who sings 'Peggy Sue.'"   

We didn't have YouTube or downloads back in the 1970s.  So I went to the record store and bought me a copy of a "best of" Buddy Holly vinyl LP.  I became a fan instantly when I heard those guitar riffs and catchy songs, like "That'll Be the Day" and "Maybe Baby."

It was 46 years ago today that Buddy Holly (along with Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper) were killed in a plane crash.  I don't think that anyone in 1959 had a clue that we'd be talking about them so many years later.

Holly touched a nerve with his music.  One of his biggest fans was a teenager in Liverpool, Paul McCartney.  (The Beatles recorded "Words of Love" in a 1965 LP.)

Holly's impact was huge, as Phillip Norman wrote from the U.K.:

Holly and Elvis Presley are the two seminal figures of Fifties rock 'n' roll, the place where modern rock culture began. Virtually everything we hear on CD or see on film or the concert stage can be traced back to those twin towering icons – Elvis with his drape jacket and swivelling hips and Buddy in big black glasses, brooding over the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.

But Presley's contribution to original, visceral rock 'n' roll was little more than that of a gorgeous transient; having unleashed the world-shaking new sound, he soon forsook it for slow ballads, schlock movie musicals and Las Vegas cabarets. 

Holly, by contrast, was a pioneer and a revolutionary. 

His was a multidimensional talent which seemed to arrive fully formed in a medium still largely populated by fumbling amateurs. 

The songs he co-wrote and performed with his backing band the Crickets remain as fresh and potent today as when recorded on primitive equipment in New Mexico [sic] half a century ago: That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Not Fade Away.

To call someone who died at 22 "the father of rock" is not as fanciful as it seems. 

As a songwriter, performer and musician, Holly is the progenitor of virtually every world-class talent to emerge in the Sixties and Seventies. 

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen all freely admit they began to play only after Buddy taught them how. 

Though normal-sighted as a teenager, Elton John donned spectacles in imitation of the famous Holly horn-rims and ruined his eyesight as a result.

We will never know what other great songs Holly would have recorded.  We do know that he had a monumental influence on rock groups and even country stars.

Who knows what kids in 2059 will be listening to?  I'll bet you that quite a few will be marking the 100th anniversary of Holly's death.

P.S. You can hear my show, CantoTalk, or follow me on Twitter.