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Why Buddy Holly is still as cool as ever

By Jake Guastella

It’s over 50 years since Buddy Holly changed the landscape of popular music, yet the Peggy Sue singer is as revered today as he was when he first burst onto the scene in 1957.

Want our top five reasons why the bespectacled kid from Texas is as cool as ever?  Well alright!

Buddy Holly  and the Crickets UK tour programme

1. He inspired rock and roll’s finest

The Beatles were so enamoured by Buddy Holly and the way he wrote (or co-wrote) his own songs, that they decided to name their own band after an insect in tribute to Holly’s band The Crickets. The Beatles also covered Holly’s That’ll be the Day during their first ever studio recording session!

Here’s what a host of other iconic musicians have said about Buddy Holly:

Bob Dylan: ‘He was a poet - way ahead of his time.’

Bruce Springsteen: ‘I play Buddy Holly every night before going onstage. It keeps me honest.’

Mick Jagger: ‘You could learn from Buddy Holly how to write songs, the way he put them together. He was a beautiful writer.’

Eric Clapton: ‘Of all the music heroes of the time, Buddy Holly was the most accessible, and he was the real thing. He was one of us.’

2. He’s just as popular with bands today

Labelled the founding father of rock and roll, Buddy Holly had no idea how long the genre that he helped create would last, as revealed in a 1957 interview with Canadian disc jockey Red Robinson.

Red Robinson: What do you think about rock 'n' roll music? How long do you think it will last: another six months, seven months?
Buddy Holly: Oh possibly yeah.
Robinson: Think after Christmas things may change a bit?
Holly: It might pick back up. But I really doubt it.

Yet rock and roll is still going strong, and the current crop of revellers continue to adore Buddy Holly’s music, as was shown in ‘09 when the likes of The Black Keys, Florence & the Machines and Julian Casablancas recorded the Buddy Holly cover album Rave On.

Over half a century after Buddy Holly’s last performance, the songs he wrote came in at number 15 on the Billboard 200 in America!

The Black Keys

John Lennon

3. ‘He made it ok to wear glasses. I was Buddy Holly’ John Lennon

Buddy Holly paved the way for a whole host of rock stars to wear those specs with pride, including Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Elton John and Elvis Costello.

Little known fact: Holly’s optician J Davis Armistead was instrumental in the selection of the frames that would become iconic: ‘Those heavy black frames achieved exactly what we wanted - they became a distinct part of him. Had Buddy lived, I do not think he would have worn contacts or had surgery. Those glasses in that heavy dark frame added to his personality and his act.’

4. The music still sounds vital

Holly’s incredible cannon of tracks, including Oh Boy, That’ll Be The Day, Heartbeat, Maybe Baby and Peggy Sue, recorded in just three years, still sound as fresh and energised as if  they were recorded yesterday.

 Lee Ormsby (Big Bopper), Dean Elliott (Buddy Holly) and Miguel Angel (Ritchie Valens) in Buddy.

5. Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is the most successful rock and roll musical ever

The life and music of Buddy Holly lives on in this sensational West End show. Proving Buddy Holly’s enduring appeal, this hugely-popular production has thrilled over 22 million people worldwide.

The cast of Buddy

‘The audience go absolutely crazy. It’s the show you’ll never forget.’
Daily Mail

'Fail-safe family entertainment'
Daily Express

'This show is an absolute must. If you haven’t seen the brilliant Buddy yet, buy your ticket now!' 
The Sun

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is coming to Richmond Theatre from Tue 27 - Sat 31 May.