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December 4, 2013

          “That’ll be the day!”

          John Wayne or Buddy Holly?

          Take your pick cause they both said or sang that line. Duke in the movie “The Searchers” in 1956 and Holly after he wrote a song with that title.

          Holly is listed as the 13th most influential rock and roll personality of our time. That’s pretty amazing when you learn that his career lasted a mere one and a half years before he died in a plane crash on a snowy Iowa night.

          Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and their pilot died in the crash. Waylon Jennings, a band member gave up his seat that night.

Holly’s wife of two months missed the flight because she had morning sickness. She later said had she been there “Buddy would not have gotten on that plane.” She miscarried the day after learning of his death. She did not attend the funeral nor has she ever been to the gravesite.

          Holly grew up in Lubbock, Texas as Charles Hardin Holley – spelled with an “e.” The “e” got dropped when it was inadvertently spelled wrong on a recording contract.

          Holly has 40 songs registered with ASCP and BMI. He actually did his first recording at age 13 with Hank Snow, but released only three albums in his lifetime.

          Buddy Holly’s most famous songs? Take your pick from: That’ll Be the Day; Peggy Sue; O Boy; Maybe Baby; It Doesn’t Matter Any More; It’s So Easy; True Love Ways; Well All Right; or my favorite Not Fade Away that the Grateful Dead reportedly performed over 500 times in concerts and appears on 8 of their live recording releases.

          Holly had a profound effect on other artists such as Bob Dylan who attended a Holly concert at age 17, or the Rolling Stones’s Keith Richards who attended a concert and heard “Not Fade Away.” The Stones later did a cover on that song.

          The Beatles watched a Holly concert on TV in England and reportedly took their name partly in homage to Holly who’s band was the Crickets – also a bug.

          The death of the three performers was the subject of several songs over time with the most noted being Don McLean’s “American Pie.” It references the tragedy as “the day the music died.”

          Buddy Holly was in Emporia last Friday night and it was time of fond memories for at least one person who was 13 when the music died. He did own several Buddy Holly 45’s! Including…… That’ll be the Day.

          I’m Steve Sauder