Artist picture of Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

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Buddy Holly was just 22 when he was famously killed in a plane crash after a gig in Clearlake, Iowa, but his legacy has remained prominent ever since. Instantly recognisable for his horn-rimmed spectacles, smart suits, sweet voice and catchy choruses, Buddy Holly was one of the biggest stars produced by the rock & roll revolution, idolised by a new generation of teenagers who changed the whole visage of late 1950s music with an influence that spread far from The Beatles to Elvis Costello. He also broke the mould of popular singers by writing his own songs, including some of his most famous hits like 'That'll Be the Day', 'Peggy Sue', 'True Love Ways', 'Oh Boy', 'Words of Love', 'Raining in My Heart' and his posthumous number one 'I Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More'.

Born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, he was given the nickname Buddy as a kid and taught to play guitar and banjo by his elder brothers. His first gigs were in a duo called Buddy & Bob with his school friend Bob Montgomery, but the moment that changed his life was seeing Elvis Presley performing in Lubbock in 1955. As a result of this concert, he adopted Presley's rockabilly approach with slapped bass and strong acoustic rhythms and went on to open shows for him as well as for Bill Haley and His Comets and was signed the following year by Decca (who inadvertently changed his name from Holley to Holly). He hired Norman Petty as his manager and formed the band The Crickets to back him, releasing 'That'll Be the Day' in 1957. The single went on to top the charts and played a significant role in the broadening popularity of rock & roll. Other major hits followed swiftly until that fateful flight on 23rd January 1959 which tragically ended his life. His influence and popularity, however, have scarcely waned and he is immortalised in the Don McLean song 'American Pie', in which the tragedy is branded as "the day the music died".

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved