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Buddy Holly ( 1936 - 1959 )  Category ( Musicians ) [suggest a correction]

Buddy HollyWhen Buddy Holly died at the age of 22, he had only been recording rock n' roll music for two years. In the history of the genre, his time was but a blip on the screen.

Nevertheless, that was all Holly needed to become a music icon and a huge influence on many of the groups that came later.

Buddy Holly was born September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, TX. His musical career began with piano lessons at the age of 11, an instrument he soon dropped in favor of the guitar. After entertaining his fellow students on the school bus, Holly joined his friend Bob Montgomery for a succession of local gigs. So fast did their reputation spread that they were picked to open a Lubbock show for Elvis Presley in 1955.

That caught the eye of Eddie Crandall, the manager for Marty Rbbbins, who hired Holly to open for Bill Haley & the Comets, a show also held in Lubbock.

By 1956, Holly had his own band, the Crickets (Jerry Allison on drums, Niki Sullivan on guirar, Joe Mauldin on bass). In September of 1957, they recorded "That'll Be The Day" in a studio in Clovis, NM, and it became a No. 1 hit.

In January of 1959, Holly played a concert in Clear Lake, IA along with Richie Valens and J.T. (The Big Bopper) Richardson. It was Holly's decision to chart a Beechcraft Bonanza to the next gig, and Valens and Richardson convinced Holly sidemen Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup to give up their seats.

The winners in that scenario soon turned out to be losers. Then plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and all four aboard were killed. It was a tragedy that Don McLean revisited years later in his classic dirge "Amnerican Pie."

Neverthless, Buddy Holly packed a lot of music into a short life. In August of 1956, he and the Crickets played at the Apollo, winning over an all-black audience. They also did some recording in Nashville.

It was almost as if Holly knew he didn't have much time left. In June of 1958, he met Marie Elena Santiago, a receptionist for Murray Deutch's New York music company. He took her to Howard Johnson's for lunch and P.J. Clark's for dinner the same night. By the end of the evening, he had proposed. They were married in Lubbock in August, two months atfer they met.

Eventually, Holly moved to Greenwich Village, which meant a split form his band (they wanted to go back to Lubbock).

It would be impossible to overestimate Holly's hold on later rock n' rollers. He established the standard lineup for a rock band -- two guitars, bass and drums. His music made its way to England, where it was shared with the young Pasul McCartney and John Lennon. Keith Richards saw him in concert, as did Bob Dylan. Even Bruce Springsteen often cites Holly as an influence.

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