Charles Hardin Holley

(September 7, 1936 February 3, 1959),

 "The Crickets": Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe Mauldin, and Niki Sullivan

"The Crickets":  Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe Mauldin, and Niki Sullivan

Better known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer, songwriter, and a pioneer of rock and roll. The change of spelling of "Holley" to "Holly" came about because of an error in a contract he was asked to sign, listing him as Buddy Holly. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career. The original spelling of "Holley" was engraved on his headstone.

Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas to Lawrence Odell Holley and Ella Pauline Drake. The Holleys were a musical family, and, as a young boy, Holley learned to play the violin (his brothers oiled the strings so much that no one could hear him play), piano and guitar. In the fall of 1949, he met Bob Montgomery at Hutchinson Junior High School. They shared a common interest in music and soon teamed up as the duo "Buddy and Bob." Initially influenced by bluegrass music, they sang harmony duets at local clubs and high school talent shows. His musical interests grew throughout high school while singing in the Lubbock High School Choir.

He married Maria Elena Santiago on August 15, 1958.

February 2, 1959 performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy Holly chartered a Beechcraft Bonanza to take him and his new back-up band ** (Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch and Waylon Jennings) to Fargo, North Dakota. {**Former bassist JB Mauldin and Drummer Jerry Allison agreed to continue as the Crickets, while Buddy was now booked under his own name.} Carl Bunch did not take the flight as he was hospitalized for frostbite three days earlier. The Big Bopper asked Jennings for his spot on the four-seat plane, as he was recovering from the flu. Ritchie Valens had never flown on a small plane and requested Allsup's seat. They flipped a coin, Valens called heads and won the toss. The four-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza took off in extremely cold but otherwise good flying weather at around 1:05 A.M. but crashed only a few minutes after takeoff. The wreckage was discovered several hours later by the plane's owner, Jerry Dwyer, some 8 miles distant from the airport on the property of Albert Juhl. The crash killed Holly, Valens, Richardson, and the 21-year-old pilot, Roger Peterson, leaving Holly's pregnant bride, Maria Elena Holly, a widow (she miscarried soon after).

 

Buddy Holly