Buddy Holly

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1986

Inducted by: John Fogerty

Nominated in: 1986

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1986 (ranked #17) .

Essential Albums (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3Amazon CD
The "Chirping" Crickets (1957)
Buddy Holly (1958)

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
That'll Be the Day (1957)
Peggy Sue (1957)
Not Fade Away (1957)
Everyday (1957)
Oh Boy! (1957)
Rave On! (1958)

Buddy Holly @ Wikipedia

Buddy Holly Videos


21 comments so far (post your own)

How does Buddy Holly get in without The Crickets?

Posted by radiomerk on Tuesday, 04.22.08 @ 15:43pm

Only 1 comment for Buddy Holly?! I know Rock & Roll wouldn't be the same without him, everyone knows he was one of the greatest so there's not much to discuss, but still.

I always liked all of Buddy Holly's music. Especially "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"

Posted by Mr. Octagon on Tuesday, 10.7.08 @ 20:01pm

Too bad they didn't induct Buddy Holly AND the Crickets, i would have made them the first Rock Band to get inducted

Posted by Jonny on Tuesday, 02.3.09 @ 02:19am

A few favorites:

Learning the Game

Oh Boy!

That'll Be The Day

Not Fade Away

Well, All Right

You're So Square (Baby I don't Care)

What to Do

I'm Gonna Love You Too

Posted by Cheesecrop on Tuesday, 02.3.09 @ 05:21am

I like Buddy Holly.. but ..It should have been with the "Crickets ,,, Having said that ...I think the "FIRST " Rock song was by .."Bill Haley and the Comets".. "Rock a Round the Clock" ... So why aren't these 2 bands not IN the Hall of Fame ..???

Posted by mrxyz on Thursday, 03.26.09 @ 20:54pm

Charles Hardin Holley...aka Buddy Holly...a name that is synonymous with Rock & Roll innovation and influence. Together with Joe B. Mauldin and Jerry Allison (the Crickets) in Norman Petty's little Clovis, New Mexico studio, Holly experimented with instrumentation, multi-track recording and wrote and recorded songs that are firmly entrenched in Rock & Roll history...as Keith Richards so accurately put it "Buddy Holly influenced everybody!!!"

Although his career and life were cut short in February, 1959, Buddy Holly is one of the few artists that can undeniably claim the title of "LEGEND"! Along with the Crickets, he laid some Rock & Roll on the WORLD!!! Here to perform on his behalf...along with Joe B. and Jerry...is probably his biggest fan;

Sir Paul McCartney!

Peggy Sue, That'll Be The Day, It Doesn't Matter Anymore

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 07:53am

Condensing Buddy's career sure wasn't easy...hope that get's the point across!

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 07:59am

Gitarzan - Good work, but two things:

1. Next time you do a write up could you post in the Rock Hall Revisted section. It just makes it easier to have it all in one spot.

2. Did you forget or intentionally leave out Niki Sullivan? If you forgot I could put him in for you.

Posted by Gassman on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:18am

I guess a third point as well:

3. Who would play guitar? You would have two bass players and a drummer, lol!

Posted by Gassman on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:19am

I toyed with the idea of putting in Sullivan, and although I don't think he was as vital to their sound, he was in fact a member.

Are you kidding? Paul would play the guitar...silly boy!!!

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:28am

I was looking at Holly's page at the time, and picked that moment to get "happy fingers"...sorry!

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:29am

Hopefully Maria Elene ("Mrs. Holly") won't see this or she'll charge us for it! There's not a worse person outside of "Col. Parker" to be in charge of a Rock & Roll legend's legacy! Did anyone see that movie with Gary Busey...UGH!!!! What a disaster!!! If anyone is interested in the REAL story, watch a documentary called "The REAL Buddy Holly Story", which was narrated and produced by Paul McCartney. There are tons of great interviews with people who were actually THERE (including his brothers)...all conducted by Paul...and astounding footage from home movies, etc...

In my view it's required watching for ANY Rock & Roll fan...

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:35am

For anyone who's interested, that documentary is available on NetFlix...

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 08:46am

Thanks for the clarification Gitarzan. Regarding Niki Sullivan, I think I am going to add a list of those inducted with the act (as I will do for all acts with multiple performers) and it will have Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Joe B. Mauldin and Niki Sullivan on it. I understand why you wouldn't need to mention him in the paragraph, but I still think it would be fair to induct him as well. Would you be cool with that?

Posted by Gassman on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 09:13am

No problem here, Gassman...after all, he was the one who "flipped the switch" on Buddy's Strat which produced that great solo on "Peggy Sue"...

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 09:29am

Gassman...here's the intro to that documentary I've been talking about...great stuff! Besides being a childhood friend and bandmate (not the Crickets) of Buddy's, Sonny Curtis is a potential non-performer candidate for his songwriting prowess ("I Fought The Law" is one of a number he wrote).


Of course, you're aware that anything I say should be taken with "a grain of salt"...

Posted by Gitarzan on Sunday, 08.8.10 @ 09:39am

i dont know much about buddy holly but i've heard good stuff of him if he hadnt died in 1959 then who knows what he cojld have achieved but who ever said RnR wouldnt b the same without him it is true but elvis would always be the leading figure of RnR

Posted by peter charlie 1991 on Friday, 01.20.12 @ 14:29pm

Had he not died on February 3rd, 1959, Buddy Holly would still be up on stage rocking out on "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be The Day". He is perhaps the most irregular 50s rock and roll singer as he had his hits and achieved rock and roll stardom, but his musical importance transcends album sales or even the songs he wrote. Buddy was a unique perfomer and his impact and his status is even more extraordinary even if his fame lasted only 18 months. Even through Bill Haley estabished rock and roll, Elvis objectified the sexual power of the music and Chuck Berry defined the music in blues, Buddy's influcence is just as far reaching as any of the others had been even if it was more subtle and more musical. In a career that lasted only three years, Holly became the most creative influence in rock and roll and his sound and name carried on as The Beatles took their name from Buddy's group, The Crickets and Graham Nash's old group, The Hollies took thier name from Buddy Holly.

Thanks Buddy for all your great songs!

Posted by Andrew on Sunday, 10.14.12 @ 23:28pm

While he only played rock and roll for three short years, the material that Buddy Holly recorded and sang has left a lasting impact on rock music. He is perhaps the most irregular '50s rock and roll singer as he had his share of hits and achieved rock stardom, but his musical importance transcends any record sales figures.

Among his rivals, Bill Haley was the first and established rock and roll and Chuck Berry defined the music in blues and it's orientation towards youth, but Holly's influence was just as far-reaching as these others even if it was more musical in nature.

Buddy was an innovator who wrote his own songs and was among the first singers to exploit studio techniques as double-tacking. Buddy also popularized the rock band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums that is standard now. His song category include such rock n' roll classics as "Oh Boy," "Rave On," "Peggy Sue," and "That’ll Be The Day."

Although he had none of the sexuality of Elvis Presley, Holly nevertheless was a charismatic performer with his glasses and hiccup enhanced vocals. His self-reliance and craftsmanship prefigured the incoming wave of rock and rollers of the Sixties.

His death in a plane crash on February 3rd, 1959 brought an end to the first era of rock and roll. Despite his passing, Buddy's influence has pasted on to such rock bands as The Beatles, The Hollies, and The Rolling Stones and such singers like Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.

Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 06.11.13 @ 23:50pm

I'm just popping by quickly to remind fellow Buddy Holly devotees that yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of the awful tragedy known as "The Day the Music Died." Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper are still missed and loved by their fans, myself included. Even with all the "new" old music I've discovered in the last 3 years, I still count Buddy as my #1 all-time favorite musical artist. His warm, sincere vocals and country-tinged, melodic guitar playing (not to mention the constant experimentation he was doing) will always endear his timeless music to fans. R.I.P, Buddy, Ritchie, and J.P.

Posted by Zach on Tuesday, 02.4.14 @ 21:15pm

Buddy Holly is perhaps the most uncharacteristic legend of 50s rock and roll because he had his share of hit songs and achieved rock n' roll stardom, but his musical importance transcends all sales figures or the details of any song that he wrote or recorded and while he only played rock n' roll for three short years, the wealth of songs he recorded during that time have made a major and lasting impact on rock music as a whole.

Holly was a unique musician because his legendary status and impact on rock n' roll are all the more extraordinary for having been achieved in just 18 months. Among his competitors Bill Haley was the first man to establish rock n' roll; Elvis Presley expressed and understood the sexual power of the music, selling hundreds of millions of records in the process, and defined the charisma needed for stardom and Chuck Berry defined rock’s roots in the blues as well as some of the finer points of it’s sexual power and it’s orientation towards youth.

Buddy’s influence is just as far reaching as these other artists, even if it was more subtle and definitely more musical in nature. In a career that lasted from the spring of 1957 to the winter of 1959, Holly became the single most influential creative force in 50s rock & rock.

Along with Chuck Berry, Buddy was an innovator who wrote his own songs and was among the first rock artists to exploit such advanced studio techniques such as double tracking. He also pioneered and popularized the now standard rock band line up of two guitars, bass and drums. In his last months, he even experimented with orchestration.

Holly's category of songs include such rock n' roll standards as “Not Fade Away” “Rave On,” “Oh Boy!” “Everyday” and “Maybe Baby.” Although Buddy lacked the eye-catching charisma of Elvis, he nevertheless was an engaging singer with his trademark glasses and hiccup enhanced vocals. His creative self-reliance and energetic craftsmanship show themselves in the songs that he and his group put out.

The results are particularly telling on the history of rock. The group created a sound that gave birth to coming wave of rock bands in the 60s, especially to early British rock n’ roll with lead and rhythm guitar closely interlock to create a much fuller, harder sound.

On songs like “That’ll Be the Day,” and “It’s So Easy,” Holly advanced rock & roll’s range and sophistication without abandoning the joy and excitement. The band weren’t afraid to experiment even on their singles, so that “Peggy Sue” made good use of the kind of volume and tone on the guitar that was usually reversed for instrumental records. “Words of Love” is also one of the earliest examples of double tracked vocals in rock n’ roll, something that The Beatles would embrace in the following decade.

Born in Lubbock, Texas on September 7th, 1936, Buddy was a natural musician from a musical family and was proficient on guitar, banjo and mandolin by age 15. After playing country and western for a few years, Holly was sighed to Decca Records in early 1956, recording demos and singles for the label. Back in Lubbock, he opened a show for Elvis Presley, an event that quickened his move from country to rock n' roll.

In February of 1957, Holly and his new group, The Crickets recorded "That'll Be the Day" at the studio of Norman Petty. The upbeat rock song became a Number 1 hit. Between August 1957 and August 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets scored 7 Top 40 singles.

The group became one of the top bands of 50s rock n’ roll, putting on shows that were as exciting and well played as any other rock show in the business. Buddy was the frontman, singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar, itself an unusual combination, as well as writing or co-writing many of the songs.

But The Crickets were also an encompassing performing group, generating an exciting sound. Jerry Alison was an innovative drummer and contributed to the songwriting more often then his band mates, and Joe Mauldin and Nicki Sullivan provided a solid rhythm section with their guitar and bass.

The fact that the group wrote all original songs made them unique and put them years ahead of most other 50s rock artists. In the late 50s, songwriting wasn’t seen as an essential skill in a rock n’ roll career as the music industry still worked along the lines it had followed since the 20s, with songwriting being a specialized profession organized on the publishing side of the industry and was kept separate from the performing and recording processes. Once in a blue moon, a performer might write a song or, much more rarely, count compositions among their talents, but usually songwriting was left to the experts. Any rock and roll artist who had a liking to write their own songs would have to get past the image of Elvis, who became a millionaire at 22 and never wrote songs, but Buddy Holly and The Crickets changed all that in a serious way by hitting Number 1 with a song they had written and regularly charged up the charts on behalf of their own songwriting.

This trait was not appreciated by the public at the time, and it wouldn’t be widely noticed until the 1970s, but many hopeful singers took note of the fact, and some tried to copy Holly.

Less obvious at the time, Buddy and company also destroyed the established record industry method of recording, was to bring the artist to the label’s own studio, working on a timetable dictated by policy and union rules. If an artist was extremely successful like Sinatra or Elvis, they got a blank check in the studio and any union rules were smoothed over, but it was a rare privilege, available only to the most elite musicians.

By contrast, Buddy and his group did their work at Norman Petty’s studio. They took their time, they experimented until they got the sound they wanted, and no union told them when to start or stop their work, and as a result of that, they delivered great records.

In October of 1958, Buddy broke it off with The Crickets due differing interests and with Norman Petty and moved to New York City which Buddy saw not just as a place to do business, but also as a place to settle down and there, He married Maria Elena Santiago. By this time, his music had grown more complex to the point that he surrendered lead guitar duties to a session player and used session musicians like the great King Curtis. The singles that Buddy made in New York didn’t sell nearly as well as the songs from 1957.

Due to legal and financial problems caused by his breakup with Petty, Holly unwillingly sighed on the Winter Dance Party in the winter of 1959. After a show at Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy chartered a private plane to take him and his two band mates to the next stop on the tour. Two other artists on the tour, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper got the seats. Their plane took off from Mason City Airport at 1:00 a.m. and crashed just a few minutes later, killing all on board. Buddy was only 22 when he died, an event that would be immortalized in Don McLean's "American Pie" as "the day the music died."

The plane crash wasn’t taken terribly serious by the media at the time as most news organizations in the 50s didn’t take rock n’ roll seriously, expect that it could be exploited to sell newspapers or to viewing audiences, but for teenagers of the period, it was the first rock and roll tragedy.

But in death, Buddy Holly’s music and influence has pasted on to such rock bands as The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, The Hollies, and The Rolling Stones whose first major hit was a cover of Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”

Out of all the 50s rock artists, Buddy Holly is personally one of my top favorites. Along with Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly is other singer-songwriter of 50s rock n’ roll. No, he didn’t have the charisma that Elvis had, but what he did have was a great hiccup enhanced singing voice and a full song category that touches on the innocent love that all teenagers feel. “Peggy Sue,” just might be one of rock’s finest ballads.

Posted by Andrew on Sunday, 04.6.14 @ 23:17pm

Leave your comment:




Security Question:

Which letter is Springsteen's band named after?

Note: Emails will not be visible or used in any way, but are required. Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Any content deemed inappropriate or offensive may be edited and/or deleted.

No HTML code is allowed.

This site is not affiliated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.