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    Buddy Holly

    The Chirping Crickets 9 ( 1957 ) more best albums...
    Oh Boy! / Not Fade Away / You've Got Love / Maybe Babye / It's Too Late / Tell Me How / That'll Be The Day / I'm Lookin For Someone To Love / An Empty Cup / Send Me Some Lovin' / Last Night / Rock Me My Baby

    As recounted by Niki Sullivan in the biography Remembering Buddy: We were at Jerry's house, and everything we thought of had been used or didn't fit. So Jerry got an encyclopedia, and somehow we got started on insects. There was a whole page of bugs. We thought about grasshopper and quickly passed that over. And we did consider the name Beetles, but Jerry said, 'Aw, that's just a bug you'd want to step on,' so we immediately dropped that. Then Jerry came up with the idea of the Crickets. He said, 'Well, you know, they make a happy sound, they're a happy type of insect.' I remember him saying, too, 'They make music by rubbing their legs together,' and that cracked us up. So we kept going and tried some other names, but finally we settled on the Crickets.

    Well, firstly we'll dispense with some myths. The above isn't one of them, by the way. That the pre-beatles musical scene was an artistic wasteland? Ah yes, that old chestnut. Most people don't actually need persuading or reminding. But a small minority remain stubborn in their belief that without The Beatles the musical landscape would be a very different place. I'm not talking about 1967 and psychedelia and concept albums. I'm talking of rock musics very beginnings! Oh, but of course. And of course, we come along to Mr Buddy Holly. Somebody may correct me, but i'm told this was the only album Buddy released during his lifetime? My sources may be incorrect, can somebody deny or confirm that please? Obviously, I know he died tragically young and I know that story. We also know the songs, we all do. Ignore the legend and listen to this album, his original debut LP released a full six years before The Beatles hit. The first four songs are all fantastic, for example. Oh, there's no concept here, but Buddy could write an albums worth of songs, including several all-time classics. He could prove an inspiration with only a very small body of work. Without Buddy, The Beatles may have had a different name and John Lennon may well have been very different. Well, one advantage of living in England in the late 50s, early 60s was that all sorts of influences came our way. American Rock n Roll mixed with English skiffle, the lord of which was Lonnie Donnegan. We had different influences to American rock n roll bands but assimilated their influences, albeit often second hand. It didn't matter. The Beatles came, right time and place. Everything changed, that much is indisputable.

    More on Buddy. Even the 'non-classics' are classics. Third song, 'You've Got Love'. Backing vocals, musical melody that's simplicity itself and such a strong melody from Mr Holly. Wonderful pop lyrics, by the way. This man went a long way to define pop lyrics of the early sixties, even though he himself wasn't around, of course. Anyway, 'It's Too Late' is a doo-wop influenced soul ballad, beautifully sang. 'Tell Me How' isn't upto par with the singles quite, but it's in much the same style. Three ballads end the album, bar the very closing track, the enjoyable 'Rock Me My Baby'. These three ballads are the albums only weak point. Well, i've mentioned almost everything bar the singles. 'Oh Boy!', 'Not Fade Away', 'Maybe Baby' and 'That'll Be The Day'. Classics all. What more do you need to know? Not a lot, actually. All you need to do is listen. Buddy was backed sympathetically and wonderfully well by his fellow crickets, but he was one man writing the tunes. The Beatles were two guys writing, Roy Orbison was in his own particular thing, brilliant though it was. Elvis didn't write songs. So, Buddy Holly was very important. Cross Buddy Holly with Chuck Berry and you've got the entire early 60s beat-group scene. Strange, but true.

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    Readers Comments

    linda EGOROURKE@aol.com
    I loved you piece on The Chirping Crickets. Since hearing Buddy first in 1958 I have always come back to his discs, and now in 2006 I have come to the conclusion that he was and is the greatest. Now he has a minor planet named after him, what more can I say?

    david wirralstages@aol.com
    In the fifties rock'n'roll stars made singles rather than LP's (in fact few British teenagers had "radiograms" capable of playing LP's until about 1958). However you are wrong that Chirping Crickets was the only Buddy Holly album The self-titled Buddy Holly was released in 1958. After his death in Feb 1059 Coral hurriedly issued "The Buddy Holly Story" LP - and this ( one of the first greatest hits LPs remained in the charts for ten years. You are right in saying that Holly was a massive influence on popular music moving from rock'n'roll to a rock based pop - a move the Beatles picked up and continued. Not Fade Away (the Stones fist big hit) was the B-side of "Oh Boy" !

    John john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Buddy is the man. A lovely album, and he can take as much credit as Elvis for the liberation of music from didactic record companies and up-tight radio stations. The material he was working on in his final days proves he was a genius.

    Lee Auty Bolton
    I love Buddy Holly. Its amazing that in the 18 months from the release of his first single, untill his untimely death, his music had evolved so rapidly. To go from the glorious rock and roll of "oh boy", "peggy sue", "not fade away" , "rave on" to the sophisticated ballads like "true love ways" etc is inspiring. In 18 months he wrote a lot of brilliant songs ( which Paul Mccartney now owns the rights ). In fact the Beatles where greatly inspired by him. Blondie do quite a cool version of an obscure Buddy Holly song called "Im gonna love you too". Check "paralell lines". Lets not forget he died at age 21. Its a pity because i think he had much more to offer the music world and i think he would have been inspired by the people he inspired ( eg the beatles, the rolling stones ) into producing even better things.

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    this page last updated 10/04/09

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