My Legends of Pop Music – Part One – Buddy Holly
I suppose we must define pop music; I would agree with one view from Wiki which says it is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. During the 1950s and 1960s, pop music encompassed rock and roll and the youth-oriented styles it influenced. Rock and pop remained roughly synonymous until the late 1960s, after which pop became associated with music that was more commercial, ephemeral, and accessible. (Wiki Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop_music)
There is much disagreement about who the first “Pop” stars were. It is easy to argue the crooners of the 1930s and ’40s. Bing Crosby sold millions of records, as did Frank Sinatra (arguably the first modern pop star, with screaming teenage female fans both in the USA and the UK.
However, this series is about people or bands that I consider were legends, usually in their own lifetime as well. Each week I will select a person or group, starting off in the early 1950’s. Each article will have a featured song and list at least 10 firm favourites, with a bit of background info.
If I get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist, from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
So, in a sort of chronological order, my very first legend is: Buddy Holly and Crickets.
Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression, and learned to play guitar and sing alongside his siblings. His style was influenced by gospel music, country music, and rhythm and blues acts, which he performed in Lubbock with his friends from high school.
He made his first appearance on local television in 1952, and the following year he formed the group “Buddy and Bob” with his friend Bob Montgomery. In 1955, after opening for Elvis Presley, he decided to pursue a career in music. He opened for Presley three times that year; his band’s style shifted from country and western to entirely rock and roll. In October that year, when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets, he was spotted by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall, who helped him get a contract with Decca Records.
Holly’s recording sessions at Decca were produced by Owen Bradley, who had become famous for producing orchestrated country hits for stars like Patsy Cline. Unhappy with Bradley’s musical style and control in the studio, Holly went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico, and recorded a demo of “That’ll Be the Day“, among other songs. Petty became the band’s manager and sent the demo to Brunswick Records, which released it as a single credited to “The Crickets“, which became the name of Holly’s band. In September 1957, as the band toured, “That’ll Be the Day” topped the US and UK singles charts. Its success was followed in October by another major hit, “Peggy Sue“.
Whilst Buddy of course tragically died in an aircraft crash (Link here) in 1953, along with Shortly after 12:55 am on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens, Richardson, and Peterson were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed into a frozen cornfield five miles northwest of Mason City, Iowa airport shortly after take-off. The three musicians, who were ejected from the fuselage upon impact, suffered severe head and chest injuries. Holly was 22 years old. He left an incredible legacy of songs, many of which are still covered by various artists to this day.
A full list of his songs is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_recorded_by_Buddy_Holly
The featured track is from Buddy Holly and the Crickets appearing on the Ed Sullivan show in 1957, singing “That’ll be the Day”, and then “Peggy Sue”.
In addition to these two classic track, some more of my favourites are:
Singalong good people, enjoy and be happy!
Featured Image: Buddy_Holly_Brunswick_Records.jpg: Brunswick Recordsderivative work: GDuwenTell me!, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
© Phil the ex test manager 2021