Buddy Holly Archives

Celebrating the life and music of Buddy Holly

50 years after his death, Buddy Holly remains relevant to musicians, fans

By William Kerns | A-J Entertainment Editor

The only question asked:

“As we approach what would have been Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday, why do you believe Buddy has remained relevant more than 50 years after his tragic death?”

 

Graham Nash

The answers:

■ Maria Elena Holly, Buddy’s widow:

“Buddy has stayed relevant because of the fans. There are so many of them around the world, and they have kept him alive. They love him; they have remained loyal to him; they keep his music alive; they still play his music.

“And also his fellow musicians who are recording his music today. They tell me that they take what they feel from Buddy’s songs, and then they make it their own. All of the musicians who keep playing Buddy’s songs, they also keep Buddy’s spirit alive.”

■ Larry Holley, Buddy’s older brother, songwriter:

“The reason Buddy still is going strong is because he was a four-star entertainer: innovation, songwriting, singing and guitar playing. He had the ability to take any song, rock or country, and do it up brown (ie, make it the best).”

■ Sherry Holley, Buddy’s niece, singer:

“Fans write me all the time and tell me that Buddy’s music still makes them happy, and cheers them when they are sad. He had such a way about expressing his feelings through his songs that people can relate to what he is singing about.”

■ Holly Kaiter, Buddy’s niece, singer

Terri Hendrix

“Buddy’s music is timeless. His songs are not dated. His thinking was way before its time. I think he basically invented, or let’s say brought out, guitar licks that pretty much every guitarist uses in his own music. He brought blues into the rock ’n’ roll era. He was a big fan of blues artists. My brother Eddy brought up something else I find interesting: He said England and many European countries did not have much to do with rock ’n’ roll until Buddy Holly came. After that, here comes the British invasion. Look at most musicians in that British invasion, and you find quote after quote about how they were influenced by Buddy Holly. Buddy is still relevant today.”

■ Jerry ‘J.I.’ Allison, Cricket and friend:

“The first I saw Buddy perform was at J.T. Hutchinson Junior High. He and Bob Montgomery sang a country song, and it was great. I got the same feeling I had the first time I saw Elvis at the Cotton Club. I think Buddy still is relevant today because he was a bit more intelligent, talented and ambitious than most people who have picked up a guitar. Buddy also made the world realize that you don’t have to look like Clark Gable or have a million dollar promotion to be a success.”

Larry Holley

■ Joe B. Mauldin, Cricket and friend:

“Buddy’s music was always simple and easy to remember, but it was always sincere. He always tried to make everybody he saw or met happy. People can easily remember someone who does good things a lot longer than people who do not.

■ Duane Allen, lead singer, Oak Ridge Boys:

“Buddy’s music weaves a place in the history of all our music.”

■ John Banister, directed British national tour of “Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story” and same show at Duchess Theatre in London’s West End:

“Buddy is relevant today because he was one of the original pioneers of rock ’n’ roll. He was an incredible songwriter and singer. Bands, such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Linda Ronstadt, were themselves heavily influences by Buddy, and so covered his songs. The music is timeless.”

Sherry Holley


■ Terri Caldwell, Texas singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“I believe Buddy Holly’s music has remained relevant because, when I listen to it, I still love it just like I did when I first heard it. It just has that appeal that transcends decades, which is why so many recording artists have released covers of his songs. It’s just great music!”

■ Ralph DeWitt. longtime music store owner:

“Buddy staying relevant is based on the sheer strength of his music, nothing else. The movie was over 30 years ago. The ‘Buddy’ stage musical comes and goes, but Buddy’s music is played somewhere on our planet every second of every day. Fifty years after his death, his songs are heard in movie and commercials. For him to create so many classic songs before his death at 22 is astounding.”

Andy Wilkinson

■ Dean Elliott, British actor and musician who starred in “Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story” more than 400 times in England, Europe, Scandinavia, the United States and Canada”

“Buddy remains relevant for one main reason: incredible songwriting. If Elvis was the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, then Buddy certainly was the Godfather. If Buddy was not as creative and innovative as he was for his time, there would not have been any Beatles or Stones, and music simply would not be the way it is today.”

■ Joe Ely, Texas singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“He made good music, that’s why. He was one of the first guys to compose and arrange… He wrote really good songs, the sort of melodies that you carry around with you your whole life.”

■ Andy Eppler, singer songwriter, recording artist,

“I think part of it is that people are fascinated by snuffed potential. Buddy had so much more to give.”

■ Phil Everly, one of Buddy’s best friends, pallbearer at his funeral, singer-songwriter, recording artist, producer:

John Banister

“Buddy Holly was a true original. That always lasts forever.”

■ Peggy Gerron, namesake of Buddy’s “Peggy Sue:”

“Buddy accomplished so much in his short life that, basically, he left all of us wondering what could have been if he had lived. For 53 years, we have studied his body of work and, with each year, we have found new relevance.”

■ Terri Hendrix, Texas singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“When I decided to truly learn to tackle playing guitar leads — in lieu of strumming — the first riff I tried to copy verbatim was the opening few licks of the classic “That’ll Be the Day.” I never quite got it right, but the lyrics stayed with me. The songs are simple, but they’ve stood the test of time. One of the main reasons might be because Holly’s music was capable of reaching such a diverse audience. When I have a gathering at my home, my “Best of Buddy Holly” is a constant in the mix pumping out of my stereo speakers. Toes tap. Glasses clink. My life without Buddy Holly? “That’ll Be the Day.”

■ Lloyd Maines, music producer, recording artist:

“Buddy created his music during the same time period that Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley were starting their music at Sun Studio. Buddy’s sound was different. He used the electric Stratocaster like an acoustic guitar. He and (producer) Norman Petty kept the sound stripped down and concise. His lyrics had an optimistic vibe. The Beatles became huge fans. When choosing a name for their band, they chose the Beatles because they loved the Crickets. Buddy’s music strikes a human nerve. Because of that, I expect Buddy Holly music to be around (and relevant) well into the next century. I still find it amazing that it took the city of Lubbock 20 years to honor Buddy with a statue.”

Joe Ely


■ Steve Maines, recording artist:

“Buddy’s music was clean, simple, fresh, honest and unique. God rest his soul. Rave on.”

■ Graham Nash, singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“Simplicity, hummability and the closeness of his life and what he wrote about to everyone else’s life.”

■ Joe Nick Patoski, music show radio host, author, independent writer:

“Buddy Holly remains relevant because his music remains relevant. His was one of the purest, most acceptable forms of early American rock and roll, and not for nothing did a generation of British musicians grab on to it, reinterpret it, and expand the sound and the fan base, as was the case of bands such as The Beatles and The Hollies. Their embrace prompted several generations of English and American bands to discover Holly and emulate his sound, as artists continue doing in the here and now.

“The lyrics were sweet and simple. The instrumentation was forthright and rockin’. What gets lost in the appreciation is how much of that sound reflected a sense of place, specifically of the wide open spaces of the South Plains and West Texas. To others, the sound and the place remain mythic.

“It reminds me of what Jimmie Vaughan said of playing guitar: it is not so much about the notes you play, as the space between those notes. Buddy Holly is all about that, and then some.”

■ Doug Pullen, rock journalist, including El Paso Times, Rolling Stone, Texas Music, Lone Star Music:

“The guy knew how to write a song. Buddy Holly had a gift for melody, and he wrote songs that may have seemed quaint and innocent on the surface, but explored his very real feelings. He could easily have been forgotten had he not had such a profound influence on the next wave of rock ’n’ roll artists, particularly the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who recorded their own versions of his songs and spoke reverently about him in interviews.

“They, in turn, influenced future generations of musicians who, whether they knew it or not, have been influenced by Holly’s relatively small but sturdy body of work and incorporated various aspects of his music (and his look) into their own.”

■ Amanda Shires, singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“It’s the songs. Buddy’s songs are beautiful little pieces of pop poetry that transcend time.”

■ Andy Wilkinson, Lubbock singer-songwriter, recording artist:

“The best music is grounded in both an understanding of the human condition and in the conviction that we humans can and should do better. It is clear-eyed, but optimistic. That is how I would describe both Buddy Holly and his music. I feel better when I hear it, better still when I perform it, and best when I think about how he was a mixture of humility and confidence and creativity. He’s the essence of what makes this place great.”

■ Matthew Wycliffe, British actor and musician who starred in “Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story” in a four-month UK tour and 18 months in London’s West End; also in Lubbock in 2009 and Canada in 2010.

“Buddy was iconic as a musician. You can pretty much hear the influence of his music when anyone plays the guitar in that trademark ‘strumming lead’ of his — and that style of playing is the backbone of rock ’n’ roll. He was prolific in his recording techniques, too, one of the first artists to layer his voice several times to give that choral feel. Along with his hiccuping vocals and songwriting skills, his innovative approach paved the way for generations of musicians. Buddy’s music still stands today as some of the best and most influential ever written. He also made it cool to wear glasses. he was one of the people who helped give the Fender Stratocaster its iconic status, and his drive and enthusiasm are legendary. It is these qualities that have kept Buddy Holly and his music so appealing, and have enabled him to stand the test of time.”

 

To comment on this story:

william.kerns@Lubbockonline.com • 766-8712

leesha.faulkner@Lubbockonline.com • 766-8706

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