Note: Some of the earliest releases were credited only as The Crickets and appear on that page. Please do not add them here.
Born: Charles Harden Holley in Lubbock, TX, USA .. Died: In a plane crash, The Day the Music Died
Legal name: Charles Hardin Holley
Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, often considered one of the main figures of the rock and roll genre in the mid-1950s.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression, Holly learned to play the guitar and sing with his siblings. Influenced by country music and rhythm and blues acts, Holly performed locally with high school friends. He made his first appearance on local television in 1952, and the following year formed the group "Buddy and Bob" with his friend, Bob Montgomery. In 1955, Holly decided to pursue a career in music after opening for Elvis Presley. As Holly opened for Presley three times that year, his band shifted from his country & western style entirely to rock-and-roll. Opening in October for Bill Haley & His Comets, he was spotted by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall, who helped him land a contract with Decca Records.
Holly performed his first recording sessions produced by Owen Bradley. Unhappy with Bradley's restrictions and the results of their work, Holly decided to visit producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Attracted by the success of the records produced by Petty, Holly traveled with his band to the studio, where among other songs, they recorded a demo of "That'll Be the Day". Petty became the band's manager, and sent the demo to Brunswick Records. Impressed, the label decided to release it without a re-recording. Since Holly's name was still linked to Decca, Brunswick credited the single to "The Crickets", which became Holly's band name.
By September 1957, as the band toured, "That'll Be the Day" topped the US "Best Sellers in Stores" chart and the UK Singles Chart. Its success was followed in October by the release of "Peggy Sue", that reached number three in "Best Sellers in Stores", three on the rhythm and blues chart and number six on the UK Singles Chart. The November release of the Chirping Crickets album reached number five on the UK Albums Chart. By January 1958, Holly had twice appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Following his last performance, he embarked on a tour through Australia, followed by a tour of the United Kingdom in February.
During a visit to New York City, Holly met Maria Elena Santiago. After marrying her, Holly moved to the city. The New York scene further interested Holly in record producing and songwriting. At the same time Holly and the Crickets started to feel unhappy with their manager. With his royalties frozen by promoter Manny Greenfield, Petty could not pay his royalties to Holly, who blamed his manager. Holly fired Petty in December 1958 and split with the Crickets as they decided to keep the manager.
In need of money, Holly assembled a new band consisting of future country icon Waylon Jennings (bass) and Tommy Allsup (guitar) and embarked on a Midwest tour to cover his needs. After a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, he chartered a plane to get to his next show in Moorhead, Minnesota. Soon after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. Richardson and the pilot.
During his short career, Holly wrote, recorded and produced his own material. He is often regarded as the act that set the traditional rock-and-roll two guitar, bass and drums lineup. Holly was a major influence in popular music, on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Elton John and many others. He was inducted with the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and later ranked by Rolling Stone at number thirteen on its "100 Greatest Artists" list.