Greenberg: Buddy Holly’s influence felt on my vacation
Try this multiple-choice quiz:
Why was I hiking through a bean field in north-central Iowa a week ago today?
1. I like beans.
2. I was tired of driving south on I-35 from summer vacation in Wisconsin with the in-laws and needed to feel something different under my right foot than the accelerator.
3. I’m just weird.
4. My daughter Lucy and I were searching for a memorial marking the crash site where Buddy Holly’s plane went down almost 50 years ago just north of Clear Lake, Iowa.
The answer is number 4 … but 3 is always appropriate.
Before moving to Lubbock, I knew who Buddy Holly was … but since coming here I’ve learned a lot more.
I didn’t realize how much he influenced rock ‘n’ roll, for example, creating the basic lineup of the modern rock band.
I knew some of the songs, but not all the songs.
Joe Ely’s powerful live version of “Not Fade Away” has become one of my favorite songs and pulls me through workouts on my iPod.
I’ve even met Peggy Sue.
The movie “The Buddy Holly Story” came out a year after I graduated from college. I’d never seen it until moving here and literally came across it flipping channels a few months back.
There’s a scene where actor Gary Busey, playing Holly, is saying goodbye to his girlfriend at what is supposed to be a Lubbock bus station.
There are mountains in the background.
In fact, they looked like the mountains behind my college campus.
I checked imdb.com (Internet movie database) for filming locations … the whole thing was shot in and around L.A.
Now I understand it costs a lot more to shoot on location … but they couldn’t move the camera so the mountains were not so obvious? And from what I’ve heard, there were many other concerns about accuracy in that movie.
But, to quote my friend on the page to the right, I’m digressing.
As I’ve written before, the music coming out of this town and region is amazing.
I’ve enjoyed learning more about Buddy Holly.
I hope you went to the Fourth of July celebration in Mackenzie Park last month.
The Maines Brothers Band, Richie McDonald and Mac Davis were wonderful.
And folks around here have been able to follow their careers.
But what would have happened if that plane had not crashed?
Would we have also heard 71-year-old Buddy Holly singing to his hometown at the Centennial Fourth of July celebration?
What other influence would he have had on popular music?
The more I learn about Charles Hardin Holley, the more fascinated I become.
So there we were, hiking through the bean field about a half-mile off a gravel road.
Lucy and I found the metal “memorial” in the shape of a guitar with three records … on the border between the bean field and some corn fields.
The guitar has the names of the three stars who died in the famous crash … Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
Also interesting was the stuff people left around the monument, a driver’s license, beads, coins, “Wailin’ Waylon” buttons in recognition of Littlefield’s Waylon Jennings, who as most people know, gave his seat on the plane to the Big Bopper.
There were also some Holly-style glasses. I stuck my business card near them … wishing I had a laminated one. There was a fierce-looking storm coming out of the west and a week later, I wonder if that business card is now paper pulp.
But I thought it appropriate for something to be there that said Lubbock. There may have been other things from our area, but the pile in front of the memorial was thick in some places and partly covered by dirt. Plus, I felt uncomfortable moving things at a “memorial.”
After shooting some video and photos you can see on our Web site, we headed into Clear Lake to see the Surf Ballroom, where Holly played his last show … we drove down Buddy Holly Place to find it.
Then we hit the road, trying to dodge the bad weather, heading back to Holly’s hometown.