Archive for The Crickets

Rock Moment: The Day The Music Died

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Repost: Published in 2009, still of interest today.

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To this day, people still mourn the musical talent who died in a plane crash in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1959.  A small airplane, carrying rock stars Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, crashed only minutes after taking off from Mason City, Iowa, in a snowstorm.

The three had just played the “Winter Dance Party” and were heading to the next stop in Fargo, North Dakota.  Richardson was 28, Valens was 17, and Holly was only 22 years old.   Richardson, from Beaumont, Texas, was already a proven commodity with not only his own hits, but songs buddyhollyhe wrote – “Running Bear” for Johnny Preston and “White Lightning” for George Jones – becoming hits as well.  Valens influenced such later acts as Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys and was the subject of a 1987 hit movie.

But perhaps the greatest loss was Buddy Holly – he was certainly one of the most original musicians ever, and a monumental talent in rock and roll.  In only two short years he had grown powerful enough to control everything he wrote and recorded and at the time of his death he was planning to produce music for other artists as well as his own.  Holly was the iconic rocker, the first to perform as the leader of his own band and the first to employ the now-standard singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer lineup.

If he had lived, perhaps Holly would have faded away or would have deteriorated like Elvis into a paunchy embarrassment playing Vegas casinos.  But I don’t think so.  You see what Buddy Holly could have been when you look at great artists who have survived and thrived over decades – artists with great integrity like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

Even though he had a relatively short musical career, and even though he was only 22 years old at the time of his death, and more than 50 years after his plane nosedived into a snowy Iowa cornfield, Buddy Holly remains one of the most important artists ever in rock and roll.

YouTube: Buddy Holly & the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue” in 1957

MP3: “Rave On” by Buddy Holly

MP3: “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

YouTube: “American Pie” by Don McLean

MP3: “Buddy Holly” by Weezer

YouTube: “Rock Around With Ollie Vee” from The Buddy Holly Story biopic

Lost Classics! The “Chirping”Crickets

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , on July 27, 2008 by 30daysout

Way back in 1957, rock and roll was just getting to its feet and learning to walk – and swing.  Elvis had just begun to make an impact the year before, but it took four young men out of Lubbock, Texas, to set the pattern for much of what was yet to come.

Led by Buddy Holley (he would later drop the “e” in his last name), the Crickets were pioneers in many ways: they were the first to perform in the classic “rock and roll band” lineup – drums, bass, guitars, singer.  They were the first major group to write their own music.  And they were the first to employ record-label shenanigans – the Crickets (Niki Sullivan, Joe Mauldin and Jerry Allison) played on the album but the backing vocals were provided by an uncredited group, the Picks.

Nevertheless, The “Chirping” Crickets, when released in 1957, yielded a few hits, including the No. 1 “That’ll Be The Day.”  Two other songs, “Oh Boy!” and “Maybe Baby” also made the Top 20.  Also included was “Not Fade Away,” which would later be a hit for the Rolling Stones and a cover for just about everyone else.  The album was a moderate hit and proved to be rather influential, especially for a few teenagers in Liverpool, England, who named their own musical group in tribute to the Crickets.  Young John Lennon twisted the spelling a bit, though.  Clever lad.   

One wonders how the music would be different, had Buddy Holly not decided to take that fateful airplane flight in 1959.

MP3: “Oh Boy!”

MP3: “Not Fade Away”

MP3: “Maybe Baby”

MP3: “I’m Lookin’ For Someone To Love”