On 3rd February 1959 Buddy Holly, only 22 years old at the time, was on his way to his next show on the “Winter Dance Party Tour”, tragically he would never arrive to perform in his show as he died in a plane crash on his way over.
In memory of this music legend who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about him.
- His real name is Charles Hardin Holley, after his grandfathers. From early childhood, he was nicknamed “Buddy”.
- Buddy Holly’s first instrument was the piano and not the guitar (which he was most known for).
- In 1955, after opening for Elvis Presley, Holly decided to pursue a career in music.
- In 1957 Buddy Holly and The Crickets became the first big-name white group to play the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They were booked by a promoter who assumed they were black as acts were usually listened too and not seen before playing. Fortunately they went down a storm.
- The well known Buddy Holly song ‘Peggy Sue’, was originally named ‘Cindy Lou’, but was changed at the request of Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly’s drummer), who wanted the song to be named after his girlfriend and eventual wife.
- On 3rd February 1959, 22 year old Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and 17 year old Ritchie Valens, died in a plane crash caused by bad weather and a 21-year-old pilot who was not qualified to fly in low visibility. The plane had only been hired after heating problems developed on Buddy’s tour bus.
- A year before the crash British producer Joe Meek, who was interested in spirituality and often attended séances, was warned that Buddy Holly would die in February. Meek tried his best to find Holly when he was in London but to no avail.
- The Beatles chose their name partly as a takeoff on Holly’s backup band, “The Crickets”.
- Don McLean’s 1971 hit song (and album) ‘American Pie’ is dedicated to Holly. With lyrics such as “February made me shiver, with every paper I’d deliver” and “the day the music died” referring to Holly’s tragic early death.
- In 1976, Paul McCartney purchased the rights to Buddy Holly’s entire song catalogue.