Buddy Holly opened up many avenues: he created the archetypal four-piece rock band with drums, bass and two guitars; the model of the pop singer-songwriter and it was a very early example of a self-produced pop star. He was indeed the first author of rock and roll music.
During his short recording career, which lasted only 18 months, Buddy changed what it meant to be – and look like – a rock star before prematurely leaving the left-behind stage rolling his head. first in a field. In doing so, and you may not know it, he also changed the law.
Holly’s musical style and production have undergone as many changes in her short career as prominent mega-artists like The Beatles and Nirvana. In a very short time he went from recording to Owen Bradley, a figure considered an old-fashioned country and western producer whose aversion to rock and roll determined the making of a rock and roll- diluted lite, orchestrating literally complete arrangements of his own material between touring, writing and recording iconic hits like “Oh, Boy! “,” Rave On “,” Not Fade Away “and all your other favorites.
Disliking her producer’s direction, Holly railed against the mellow sound he was forced to make with her debut single, ‘Blue Days, Black Nights’. Buddy was quickly right as his early releases were relative failures and he was later released by Decca – a music publishing giant with a history of dropping some of rock music’s biggest clanks – and said that he could not re-record any of the items. he had been working on for another five years. He was back to square one.
Desperate to make his own success, he sought out Norman Petty, a producer whose records Buddy had heard and loved before approaching him. In a trial recording, alongside handpicked new band members, Holly recorded a play of a new song.
“The worst song I have ever heard”
Owen Bradley’s take on “It’ll be the day”
The demo was so good, bottled electricity, that this one marvels is still the version we hear today. Petty added his name as a co-author, a deal that may have been part of the recording deal and was a common occurrence during the pre-George Martin music production era.
Brunswick Records quickly offered the Crickets (the name of the group a way to negotiate the exclusive deal Decca had secured) a deal and released the single with huge success. Interestingly, what no one seemed to have noticed was that Brunswick was a subsidiary of Decca, so it was making boxes by sneaking right under the nose of this accident-prone publishing house. Decca / Brunswick would publish Crickets material and another Brunswick affiliate, Coral Records would publish Buddy’s work. He now technically had three recording contracts.
At one point after a reunion in August 1958, his new wife Maria Elena and his aunt, a guy in the entertainment industry, convinced Buddy that Norman Petty was letting the band’s royalties “sit” too long in his own bank account. , so Maria started withholding payments for everyone in the group for herself… uh, Buddy. Holly hired attorneys in an attempt to salvage what he thought was missing and planned to get rid of Petty as a manager. The vultures surrounded and Buddy’s finances got so muddled that there came a time when he had no income at all. The Crickets stayed with the producer, leaving the singer alone.
It was at this point that Holly began to search for a new voice and began to experiment with approach and arrangement. The transition from “That’ll Be The Day” to “True Love Ways” in just over a year remains an incredible achievement 61 years later.
Thus, Buddy Holly, the star and author of iconic hits in the US and UK charts, a national television and rock star with international tours under his belt, a newly married New York-based orchestral rock and roll producer. with a child on the way, was completely destitute, with no sign that his own cash reserves were being made available to him. His only option was to get out on the road.
The Winter Dance Party was a poorly organized logistical shit show. Traveling by coach through the dead of winter in the American Midwest, the band and support groups, including Big Bopper and “La Bamba” frontman, Richie Valens nearly froze to death on the grueling commute between concerts. After nine blue days and dark nights, the show has arrived in Clear Lake, Iowa. Buddy had had enough. Lacking in home comforts and bemoaning the appalling conditions, he put his tour earnings on the line and chartered a four-seater plane to take him and two lucky tour members to the arrangements the following night, with the intention of being pampered as the coach drove behind.
After a barnstorming show at the Surf Ballroom, Richie Valens won a raffle with guitarist Tommy Allsup.
“This is the first time that I have won anything in my life”
Valens allegedly said this before boarding the Big Bopper, which had caught a cold and was given its seat by the kind bassist and future country badass, Waylon Jennings, who had already paid for his seat (around $ 300 in today’s money). With Buddy, they took off in the snowy night and disappeared.
Supposed to have arrived safe and sound, the other tour members expected to be greeted by a smiling, rested Holly in Minnesota. Instead, Buddy had been in the air for less than five minutes, the pilot not certified to fly “instrument only”, got into trouble at the first opportunity and piled the plane in a frozen field. Passengers were thrown from the plane as it wheeled on the ground, with reports of collapsed heads and grotesque injuries to the chest, limbs and back for all involved. They were all killed instantly.
Maria never received the “knock on the door”. She heard from her husband through a television newscast instead of the daily call as she waited by the phone. Brutal and hopelessly sad. The news caused such a desperate shock that the newly widowed Maria suffered an almost instant miscarriage. Holly’s mother heard the news from a radio speaker and collapsed in horror. This almost prehistoric insensitivity caused such debilitating trauma to those who knew and loved Buddy, that a new law was passed in the United States where no announcement of such events was allowed until the closest victims. and the dearest be personally informed of what had happened. . The law of buddies.
Maria never visited her husband’s grave and later told the Avalanche Journal: “In a way, I blame myself. I didn’t feel well when he left. I was two weeks pregnant and wanted Buddy to stay with me… If only I had accepted, Buddy would never have boarded that plane.
There are many who dispute that Maria was pregnant, some claim that Buddy’s financial complications entered the artist’s life immediately after Maria’s appearance. It was certainly thanks in part to his meddling that Buddy went on tour, and his alleged pregnancy may well have been a ploy to keep him close. But it is not for me to confirm or deny, I was not there. You can make up your own mind, but I’ll add this: Could wild horses drive you away from your partner’s resting place?
Buddy, I believe, was meant to be the great rock star of the pre-Beatle era. We’ll never know now, of course, but his influence always spills over to all the kid groups who choose guitars and want to write great songs. We missed some amazing music, but I’m grateful for those productive maniacal 18 months he gave us.