by HB Auld, Jr.
Today would have been Buddy Holly’s 85th birthday. He was born September 7, 1936, and was killed in a plane crash on Tuesday, February 3, 1959.
Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas. He was born into a musical family where his mom, two older brothers, and older sister all either played instruments or sang. It was his older brother, Travis Holley, who taught Buddy to play the guitar.
Last Name Misspelled
Buddy’s last name, Holley, was misspelled as “Holly” by a Decca Records employee on a recording contract and he continued to record and tour under that misspelling: Buddy Holly. Buddy performed for the first time on TV in 1952 at 15. He performed locally and in school talent shows until 1955 when he and a friend opened for a young rock and roller, Elvis Presley, who was touring one-nighters by driving across Texas and Louisiana. Elvis so impressed young Buddy that he decided right then that he wanted to be a rock and roll musician. He opened twice more for Elvis and later for Bill Haley and the Comets in rock and roll shows produced by a local disc jockey.
Buddy died after a concert on the Winter Dance Party tour. He, J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson, and 17-year old Ritchie Valens (La Bamba) took a private plane Buddy had rented after the performance in Clear Lake, IA. They were on their way to the next night’s performance at Moorhead, MN. All three musicians and the pilot, Roger Petersen, were killed when the plane crashed (probably from iced wings) in a cornfield just five miles after take-off. When Buddy and the others died, a 15-year old Bobby Vee quickly formed a musical group, “The Shadows,” and performed at the concert that next night in Moorhead, MN. Bobby Vee went on to very successful rock and roll solo career of his own after that night.
Just 22 Years Old
Buddy Holly, one of the most prolific rock and roll stars, was just 22 years old when he died that snowy night in Iowa.
Happy 85th birthday, Buddy Holly.
Here is one of Buddy’s biggest hits: “Raining In My Heart:”