He played music locally with High School friends, J.I. Allison (who would play drums and write songs for the Crickets) and Sonny Curtis (who played guitar and wrote “Rock Around With Ollie Vee”, my FAVORITE Buddy Holly/Crickets song. Sonny also wrote “Walk Right Back” a Top-10 single for the Everly Brothers. Bob Montgomery rounded out the group.
In January of 1955 the boys saw Elvis Presley for the first time. Wearing an orange sports coat, Red slacks and white buck shoes, Sonny said “Presley looked like a motor cycle headlight coming right at you”.Here’s a picture backstage of Elvis on the left and to the far right in the glasses, Buddy.
The boys changed their musical direction from Bluegrass to Rock ‘n Roll right then and there. On Sunday Feb 13th, 1955 they Opened the show for Elvis. Buddy even got to use Presley’s Martin D-18 guitar.
He later heard records like “Party Doll” which were produced by Norman Petty. Ironically his High Scholl buddy J.I.Allison played drums on that record along with Joe B. Mauldin on Bass, he later became the Crickets Bassist. Also Niki Sullivan on guitar. Niki tour with the Crickets, is on many of their records and appeared with the boys on the Ed Sullivan show but was never officially a Cricket.
“That’ll Be The Day” was recorded and, because Buddy was still technically signed to Decca Records, the name “Crickets” was used. To further disguise his identity, the songwriters credit, seen in parenthesis under the song’s title, the name Charles Hardin was used.
The single went to No. 1 and by the time Decca found out it was too late. As fate would have it, Brunswick records was owned by Decca. So suing the Crickets “New” label would amount to suing one’s self.
Records were then released using the name Buddy Holly, as a solo artist, on Coral records, another “Sister Label” owned by parent company Decca. Hereafter “Crickets” records were put out on Brunswick but solo “Buddy” records were put out on Coral. Why is anybody’s guess.
Overdubbing in the studio was becoming the rage in the late 1950’s. Buddy would use a Gibson J-200 for acoustic parts. Here he is with a “Blonde” model just like the one I use for my recordings and shows.
On Feb. 2nd, 1959, the famous plane disaster happened. To this day however, Buddy’s influence on music is felt and honored with the re-release of recordings, movies, documentary’s, and even in reputable musicians magazines like “Guitar Player”.
Happy Birthday Buddy. Ya did REAL good!