Buddy Holly was a musician, singer and songwriter who was a native of the USA. In his short lifetime he made a major and lasting impact on popular music. Holly was a member of a musical family and he wrote his own material. His music was influenced by country and rhythm and blues music.
Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley, on September 7th 1936 in the city of Lubbock, north-western Texas. He learned to play musical instruments at an early age. By the age of 16 he and a friend had formed a group called Buddy and Bob. They regularly performed country and western music on a radio station in their home town and became an act in demand locally.
When Elvis Presley performed in Lubbock in 1955 Buddy and Bob were the opening act. Witnessing Elvis Presley perform was the beginning of the transition of Buddy Holly from ‘Country and Western’ music to ‘Rock and Roll’ music. He formed a band which eventually came to be called the Crickets and had his first hit with ‘That’ll Be the Day’ in 1957. By august 1958 Holly and The Crickets had had seven recordings in the Top 40 Charts.
Holly married Maria Elena Santiago in Lubbock on August 15, 1958. He split up with the Crickets and his manager in late 1958 and moved with Maria to live in Greenwich Village, New York. Due to legal problems over his split with his manager he was short of money. He agreed to go on a tour of 24 cities in the American Midwest beginning in January 1959.
Following a performance at Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly, accompanied by Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, hired a small plane to take them to their next venue, over 500km away in Moorhead, Minnesota. The plane crashed shortly after take-off killing all on board. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old but the 32 songs he recorded made a major impact on popular music. The phrase ‘The Day the Music Died’ in the Don McLean song ‘American Pie’, refers to the death of Buddy Holly.
Buddy Holly died at the age of 22 in the year 1959 On This Day.
Buddy Holly’s gravestone