In recent months, I have taken a big plunge into the beginnings of Rock and Roll. I have been watching many documentaries, reading books, and listening to many albums. I find the origin of rock and roll very intriguing, but I’ve never been stopped mid-spin.
During Holly’s short lifetime, he was only able to make three albums. His posthumous discography is much larger then what he actually was able to see. My album came out closely after his death. The Buddy Holly Story is a collection of Holly’s biggest hits the way the public heard them (I say this cause there are many different versions produced through the years).
My first song to hear sung by Buddy was “Raining in My Heart.” He recorded this with an 18-piece orchestra. This was a big change for him musically. He is famously known as the one who created the two guitars, bass, and drum setup. I would have never guessed he was out of his comfort zone in this recording. To say the least, this track had me hooked.
The album then goes into many of his more rock and roll sounding hits, “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be The Day.” Both songs have intriguing stories behind them, but I especially am fond of the latter. Buddy and the Crickets went to see The Searchers starring John Wayne. Mr. Wayne repeatedly states in the movie “That will be the day.” Thus Buddy went over to the Crickets drummer’s home, J.R., and asked him to write a song with him. J.R. was not a lyricist, so he replied “that will be the day,” and a legendary song was born.
There are many other songs I love on this album including “Everyday,” “Rave On,” “Heartbeat,” and “It’s So Easy.” Although the thing that really intrigued me about Buddy initially was the versatility in the songs and his style. He is famous for his “hiccups,” but he also was able to switch song styles nearly effortlessly. He was originally a country artist, but where is that material?
After I did further reading on Buddy, I was not only amazed by his versatility, but his legacy. I did not realize just how trailblazing he really was. He brought changes to almost every aspect of a musical performer. For example, when he played guitar, he did not play one or two strings at a time, but all six. He created a style all his own, both vocally and in his appearance. As mentioned before, he even created a common instrumental setup that is still widely used today.
Yet, he died when he was a mere 22 years old. Had Buddy even reached his full potential? My answer is no. He had much further to go, and in my prediction would have remained a top act through the 70’s.
Through my research I have heard it said, that February 3, 1959, the day Buddy’s plane crashed, was the day the music died. Although we lost a significant leader, I disagree and believe that Buddy would as well. Music cannot die, for its innovation is immortal. The thing is though; Buddy gave us tons to go off of. To say the music died the day he did is a slap in the face to him. He gave life to some of the best music that we will ever hear. Unfortunately, after the plane crash, his physical body didn’t matter anymore, but oh boy, he would want us to think it over and then rave on.