SotD - Buddy Holly, Peggy Sue

Buddy Holly

Song of the Day looks back at the music of a man whose birthday it would have been today, the legendary Buddy Holly...


Buddy Holly's legacy has been enduring and meteoric but it's incredible to think that he would have only been 80 today. Think of what he could have accomplished, how different music might have been, had he lived.

Buddy Holly was born in Texas and raised on country and bluegrass music before he blended blues and R&B into his own style, resulting in some of the most innovative music ever recorded. In an era when most artists performed songs penned by others, Buddy Holly and his band were one of the first four-piece rock 'n' roll bands (two guitars, bass and drums) that wrote, arranged, played and recorded their own songs in the studio. They put out their music, their way. With this seemingly simple change, Buddy created a new blueprint for past, present and future rock 'n' roll bands around the world.

In only 18 months, from when Buddy Holly and the Crickets hit the charts with their first release, That'll Be The Day, to when he died, aged just 22, in a plane crash along with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, the band had more than 27 Top 40 hits worldwide, with his first hit, That'll Be The Day, and his last, It Doesn't Matter Any More, both going to No. 1.

He captivated U.S. audiences with repeat performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing his hits That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue and Oh Boy, then captivated British audiences the same way. Before there was a British Invasion led by the Beatles in America in 1964, there was an American Invasion led by Buddy Holly in England. In 1958, Holly toured England for a month playing more than 50 performances. He appeared on the two top TV shows, Sunday Night At the Palladium and Live At The BBC. These personal appearances and TV broadcasts were the first exposure of an American rock 'n' roll band to the youth of Britain.

After bleak post-war years, Buddy Holly's energy and style triggered a musical revolution in Britain, paving the way for The Beatles cracking America in 1964. They took their insect-like name in tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets and, when it came down to the business of learning how to work with the mechanics of writing songs, Buddy's pure-and-simple three-chord melodies and "words of love" were a major influence and inspiration to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Five years to the day after Holly was buried, on February 7, 1964, the Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York City and ushered in the British Invasion that changed popular music forever.



Image & Info - UME