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Charles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy, was born in Lubbock, Texas on 7th September 1936 to Lawrence Odell Holley and Ella Pauline Drake .

He showed an early aptitude for music as a child but nothing captured his imagination until his older brother Travis brought home a Harmony guitar from a pawnshop .

In school he met Bob Montgomery and the two listened to the radio together avidly .
By early 1955, Buddy & Bob were starring on their own Buddy & Bob Show on Lubbock's KDAV radio Sunday Party.

That was the year Elvis Presley came to Lubbock and Buddy was bitten by the Rock 'n' Roll bug !

Elvis once said, "Looking back over the last 20 years, I guess the guy I've admired most in rock and roll is Buddy Holly."

the winter dance party


Nashville studio 1956

Later in 1955 , Buddy was spotted by Nashville talent agent
Eddie Crandall who helped broker a recording deal with Decca .

This produced some fine country recordings, but nothing that satisfied Buddy or the public . The contract was not renewed !

1950s rock n roll shows

It was at the Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico in 1957 that Buddy Holly ,
Jerry Allison , Larry Welborn , Niki Sullivan and Gary & Ramona Tollett met to record
“That'll Be The Day”
This was Buddy Holly & The Crickets , and the rest is history !

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The original lineup of The Crickets included Buddy Holly on vocals & lead guitar ,
Jerry "J.I." Allison on drums ,
Joe B. Mauldin on bass , and Niki Sullivan on rhythm guitar .
Sullivan would leave the group after their first national tour in the Autumn of 1957 and the
band continued as a three piece .

On March 1 1958 , Buddy Holly and The Crickets began a 25 day tour of England .
Many rock historians point to this tour as a major turning point in popular music in the
UK as the personal appearance of one of our
favourite Rock 'n' Roll groups gave
young English rockers a first hand look at how the music was actually made. 

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Buddy married Maria Elena Santiago in August 1958 , and they moved to New York .
The pressures of touring and a new marriage all contributed to Buddy Holly and The Crickets parting ways and Buddy concentrated on songwriting and his solo career .

Buddy , Paul Anka & Jerry Lee Lewis going to Australia


To satisfy a temporary cash flow problem , Buddy embarked on an ill-fated tour of the Mid West in early 1959 .

He recruited guitarist Tommy Allsup , drummer
Carl Bunch and KLLL disc jockey turned bass player,
Waylon Jennings .

Dubbed the "Winter Dance Party" , the tour also included Ritchie Valens , J.P. Richardson - "The Big Bopper" ,
and Dion & The Belmonts a popular teenage vocal group from New York City .

The tour was plagued with problems and by the time
they reached Clearlake , Iowa , on the evening of Monday 2nd February 1959 , Holly had decided to charter a small plane for himself, Allsup and Jennings to fly to the next venue in Fargo , North Dakota after their two shows at 
the Surf Ballroom.
At the last minute, Jennings gave up his seat to
The Big Bopper (who had the flu) and Tommy Allsup lost his seat to Ritchie Valens with the flip of a coin !

winter dance party

Winter Dance Party tour bus
Roger Peterson
the crash site

At approximately 1:00 a.m ,the Beechcraft Bonanza plane took off from the nearby
Mason City airport with young pilot Roger Peterson at the controls .
It crashed less than five minutes later , literally flown into the ground by a pilot blinded
by bad weather . 
Some of the greatest Rock 'n' Roll artists of all time lay undiscovered in a frozen
Iowa wheat stubble field until well after dawn. 

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