Famous birthdays: Rocking with Buddy Holly


07/09/1936 - 03/02/1959

"If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him 'pop'...don't tell him 'rock'n'roll' or they won't even let you in the hotel".

Born Charles Hardin Holley, Holly was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who joined The Crickets and pioneered rock with songs such as "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be the Day,". Holly was nicknamed "Buddy" by this mother, who felt that his given name was too big for her little boy. "Holly", the altered form of his last name, would later result from a misspelling in his first record contract. Rolling Stone would later rank him as the thirteenth "Greatest Artist of All Time".

1935: Born on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas, USA.

1949: A home recording of "My Two-Timin' Woman" showcases Holly's skilled singing voice. Buddy Holly learned to play piano and fiddle at an early age, while his older brothers taught him the basics of guitar.

1955: Holly formed a band and played country and western songs regularly on a Lubbock radio station. He frequently opened for more prominent national acts that toured through town but opening for Elvis Presley was a crucial turning point for the singer.

1956: Holly and his band began recording demos and singles in Nashville under the name Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes but the group's lineup was later revised and dubbed The Crickets.

1957-1958: Holly and the Crickets charted seven different Top 40 singles including his breakthrough hit, "That'll Be the Day,". Holly split from The Crickets and moved to Greenwich Village in New York City.

1958: Buddy Holly proposed on his first date with Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist four years his senior, and married her less than two months later on August 15 and wrote "True Love Ways" for her.

1959: Due to legal and financial problems resulting from the band's breakup, Holly reluctantly agreed to tour through the Midwest with The Winter Dance Party. Tired of enduring broken-down buses in subfreezing conditions, Holly chartered a private plane to take him from a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, to the tour's next stop in Moorhead, Minnesota. Holly was joined on the doomed flight by fellow performers Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. The plane crashed within minutes of leaving the ground, killing all aboard. Buddy Holly was just 22 years old.

INTERESTING FACT: He had 20/800 vision and ditched his glasses for his first promotional photos but he finally found a style of black frames he liked. In a great leap for nerds everywhere, Holly managed to make the thick-framed glasses cool.

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