This Day In Rock & Roll: BUDDY HOLLY
Buddy Holly (1936-1959), would be 80 today. Happy birthday Buddy!
Born on September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly was an American singer/songwriter who produced some of the most distinctive and influential work in rock music. Already well versed in several music styles, he was a seasoned performer by age 16. With hits such as 'Peggy Sue' and 'That'll Be the Day,' Buddy Holly was a rising star when a tragic plane crash struck him down in 1959 at age 22.
Buddy Holly was even more of an "enfant prodige": he also died at 22, but left behind an impressive corpus of songs. He radically altered the image of rock'n'roll. Wearing glasses and a formal high-school outfit, he represented the exact opposite of the juvenile delinquent. His childish, naive optimism contrasted with the nasty, morbid world of the other rockers. His lyrics reached for the primal child in every teenager: they were made of onomatopoetic tongue-twisters and of "baby talk" (syllables, rather than words, silly repetitions, trifling rhymes).
His vocal phrasing was a recital of exaggerated tones of voice, hiccupping from bass to falsetto, a nonsense lingo of guttural ejaculations and martial slogans. His music was catchy, but set to bizarre accompaniments (clapping, tom-toms, celeste), distilled from blues, tex-mex, folk, pop and country. That'll Be The Day(1957) and Peggy Sue (1957) were his rockabilly masterpieces, but Words Of Love(1958), Everyday, It's So Easy and Well All Right already belonged to another genre, a form of jangling, melodic music straddling the line between folk and rock, and arranged in creative ways. In many ways, Holly was the first of the singer-songwriters. Last but not least, his Crickets forged the standard of the rock band: their line-up was two guitars, drums and bass; they wrote their own material, and the sound of their songs mainly relied on their playing.