Thursday, December 29, 2016

Miles Teller's Truck Accident, Traffic Law Attorney

We're told Miles Teller was driving in the San Fernando Valley late Thursday night when an Uber driver made a left turn in front of Teller, who was driving with his girlfriend. Miles' Bronco flipped over. He was not injured but enraged and got out of the truck screaming, "You f***** up my truck." 

We're told he was so angry people had to restrain him from attacking the Uber driver. Our law enforcement sources say the accident was not Miles' fault. It's clear from the photo the Uber driver made a left when it was unsafe. An ambulance came and took 2 passengers in the Uber to the hospital after they complained of minor injuries. An eyewitness says Miles appeared concerned about the 2 injured people. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ drugs or alcohol did not play a factor in the crash. We're told Teller put about $200k in the restoring his SUV over the years... ouch. It's interesting... Miles' 2 biggest movie roles -- "Whiplash" and "Bleed for This" feature his characters getting in a bad car accident. And, when he was 20, he got in a near-fatal car crash. Source:

Viewing the guilt of the aggressor as the basis for justification of private defence is the classic and most common theory in Anglo-American law, which provides us with a basic description of this viewpoint. The approach focuses on the rights of the aggressor. Its starting point is the general right to life that is granted to all human beings. The central argument of this approach is that the aggressor, by his guilty act, loses his right to life, or, at least, the right to claim this right. Nancy M. Omichinski illustrates this theory with the accepted description of ‘moral forfeiture of the right to life.’ She explains that even though the right to life is traditionally considered to be non-transferable, it is however normally considered as one, which can be lost—as noted by the philosopher John Locke, and the jurists Blackstone and Feinberg. This is the basic description of the theory—a description that it is easy to criticise. If the theory assumes that the aggressor—by his act—agrees that his life may be taken as a result of a defensive act, then this is a fiction, because the aggressor probably did not even think of this possibility. What is the dominant factor—the aggressor’s culpability, the very fact of his attack or both of these? In the legal literature there is sometimes mention of guilt alone, and sometimes of guilt connected to the ‘wrongful act’ of the aggressor. In the philosophical literature there is a dispute concerning this matter, which reaches its peak in the exchange of articles between Montague and Wasserman. The essence of this argument is that Montague based the rationale for private defence on the fact that the aggressor forces a choice between lives by the very fact of his attack, in conjunction with the aggressor’s guilt which, in his opinion, is the important factor. In the opinion of Wasserman, Montague emphasises the guilt of the aggressor far too heavily, and does not consider the tremendous importance of the very fact of the attack from a moral standpoint. The establishment of private defence and its justification will always require all of the three factors (the aggressor’s guilt, the autonomy of the person attacked and the social-legal order). Private defence is, simultaneously, a defence both of the autonomy of the person attacked and of the social-legal order, by means of essential and reasonable defensive force against the aggressor who is criminally responsible for his attack. There is an argument that the requirement of a mental element of any sort for the establishment of justification should be avoided due to utilitarian considerations. For the requirement of a mental element deters individuals from performing actions whose performance is actually desired by society. In American law also, as in English law, a mental element is required for the establishment of private defence. Moreover, the actor’s awareness of the justifying circumstances is usually insufficient, and a purpose of self-defence or protection is also required. In this matter, the Model Penal Code reflects the existing law. Robinson, for example, presents the following case: a large fire approaches a village and is liable to kill its residents. The way to stop it is to burn a private field that stands in its path. His argument is that if we demand a certain mental element in order to establish justification of the ‘lesser evil’, we shall deter the actor, who hates the field owner, from burning the field and thereby saving the population of the village.

Traffic Attorneys: Criminal Attorney in Phoenix
When fighting a traffic ticket in Arizona, it is important to hire a lawyer to get you the best possible results. You need an attorney who understands your traffic regulations and provides attentive and personalized representation for clients throughout Arizona. Whether you are facing a civil charge, or a DIU charge, you need an Arizona traffic violation attorney who will work to get you the best possible results. Each state punishes traffic violations differently. If you have received a criminal traffic violation or a civil traffic ticket in Arizona, you need an attorney who understands the consequences a violation may have on your license. You need an attorney who understands the court you are charged in. Arizona has serious laws for traffic violations. In Arizona, you can be charged with what is known as “Criminal Speeding” in two commons ways: Traveling over 20 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. Traveling any speed over 85 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit. For example, if the posted speed limit is 75 miles per hour, traveling 86 miles per hour would be a violation of that law. So traveling 11 miles an hour over the posted speed limit is sufficient to be considered a criminal violation.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Buddy Holly and the Science of Music

Rave On - A Buddy Holly Biography (2001) documentary.

The evolution of popular music: USA 1960–2010: Between 1960 and 2009, the mean frequency of H1 declined by about 75%. H1 captures the use of dominant-seventh chords. Inherently dissonant (because of the tritone interval between the third and the minor-seventh), these chords are commonly used in Jazz to create tensions that are eventually resolved to consonant chords featured in tracks such as “I Feel So Bad” by Elvis Presley; songs tagged blues or jazz have a high frequency of H1; it is especially common in the songs of Blues artists such as B.B. King and Jazz artists such as Nat ‘King’ Cole. The decline of this topic, then, represents the lingering death of Jazz and Blues in the Hot 100 Billboard. Styles and genres represent populations of music that have evolved unique characters (topics), or combinations of characters, in partial geographical or cultural isolation, like country music in the Southern USA during the 1920s.

Music historians attribute this wholesale change of rock to the British Invasion of the early 1960s, when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones arrived in America and were followed by dozens of other Brit bands. Computer analysis paints a different picture. The signature features of this era — such as loud guitar, major chords with no changes and bright, energetic melodies — predated the arrival of Brit bands. This theme makes sense, said Ohio State University music professor David Huron: “When we think of styles, the prototypes are often not the earliest examples.” But even though the Beatles and the Rolling Stones didn’t initiate the revolution, both bands had 66 hits on the Hot-100 before 1968. The remaining H-topics capture the evolution of other musical styles. H3, for example, embraces minor-seventh chords used for harmonic colour in funk, disco and soul. Between 1967 and 1977, the mean frequency of H3 more than doubles. H6 combines several chord changes that are a mainstay in modal rock tunes. Its increase between 1978 and 1985, and subsequent decline in the early 1990s, marks the age of Arena Rock.

Of all H-topics, H5 shows the most striking change in frequency. This topic, which captures the absence of identifiable chord structure, barely features in the 1960s and 1970s when, a few spoken-word-music collages aside (e.g. those of Dickie Goodman), nearly all songs had clearly identifiable chords. H5 starts to become more frequent in the late 1980s and then rises rapidly to a peak in 1993.

Accordingly, T1 is over-represented in songs tagged dance, disco and new wave and artists such as The Pet Shop Boys. After 1990, the frequency of T1 declines: the reign of the drum machine was over. Source:

In 1959, at age thirteen, Dodie Stevens had the #1 hit, gold record  “Tan Shoes & Pink Shoe Laces”. She followed with “Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight” and “Merry, Merry Christmas Baby”, which all hit the Billboard charts in the early 60's. She toured worldwide with Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Paul Anka, Bobby Rydell and many more teen idols from that era.  In February 2009, she joined her peers in Clear Lake, Iowa at the Surf Ballroom to perform in a 5-day memorial concert, “Fifty Winters Later” (in memory of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper). 

By the beginning of 1959 the rumour about Buddy Holly visiting Cookham on Saturday March 1st 1958 had mostly been forgotten. Buddy Holly was in London where he was playing that evening at the Elephant and Castle Trocadero. Bored with the noise and bustle of London, Buddy decided to go for a train ride. When the young waitress Mary Brown served Buddy his glass of lemonade at the teashop, she wasn’t sure if this man was Buddy Holly. However when she was handed the signed sketch, there was absolutely no doubt. They say that when we dream, what appears to us to be a full-length story, only in fact takes a few seconds to flash through our mind. Folklore would have us believe that during Buddy Holly’s final moments, it would have been his whole life that flashed before him. On the morning of February 3rd Mary Brown woke suddenly from a terrible nightmare.  She had been dreaming that the chest of drawers in her bedroom was ablaze. It was 7 am.  Four thousand miles away in Iowa USA, it was  1am - and the precise moment the plane carrying Buddy Holly hit the ground. Mary sat on the edge of the bed for several minutes. Her heart was pounding.

Mary slowly opened the drawer.  This was the first time Mary had looked at the sketch since she'd put it away. Mary was rooted to the spot - shocked by her sister's sudden appearance. "He was at the tea shop," Elizabeth said venomously: "Give me the drawing." "No," Mary replied, turning to face her sister: "He gave it to me." Elizabeth grabbed the edge of the paper, to pull the sketch away from Mary. The paper ripped and Elizabeth ended up with a small corner of it in her hand. Without hesitating Mary tore the sketch in two. Then into four.  And she kept on tearing the page into smaller and smaller pieces until she reached the point that she couldn’t tear it any more.  Then she threw the pieces towards her sister - and these fluttered to the floor like snow flakes. Four thousand miles away in Iowa, the body of Buddy Holly was lying on the frozen ground not far from the mangled wreckage of the plane. Snow was gently falling from out of a pitch-black sky.  There were no stars showing.  And everything was absolutely silent. —The Last Dream of Buddy Holly (2016) by James Chalmers 

"Music transmitted from generation to generation shapes autobiographical memories, preferences, and emotional responses, a phenomenon we call cascading 'reminiscence bumps,'" explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Carol Lynne Krumhansl of Cornell University. To explore the connection between autobiographical memories and musical memories, Krumhansl and Justin Zupnick of the University of California, Santa Cruz asked 62 college-age participants to listen to two top Billboard hits per year from 1955 to 2009. And there was a 'reminiscence bump' for the music of the 1960s -- more than two decades before the participants were born. Krumhansl and Zupnick speculate that reminiscence for this music could have been transmitted from the participants' grandparents, who would have been in their 20s or 30s in the 1960s. Another possibility -- one that might be favored by those of the Baby Boomer generation -- is that the music of the 1960s is truly of higher quality. Source:

Music brings memories back to the injured brain: In their study, A. Baird and S. Samson played extracts from 'Billboard Hot 100' number-one songs in random order to five patients. The songs, taken from the whole of the patient's lifespan from age five, were also played to five control subjects with no brain injury. All were asked to record how familiar they were with a given song, whether they liked it, and what memories it invoked." The findings suggest that music is an effective stimulus for eliciting autobiographical memories and may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of autobiographical amnesia, but only in patients without a fundamental deficit in autobiographical recall memory and intact pitch perception." The authors hope to learn more about the clear relationship between memory, music and emotion; they hope that one day we might truly "understand the mechanisms underlying the unique memory enhancing effect of music." Source:

As a kid, Buddy Holly showed a quick aptitude for music, taking violin and piano lessons, and later steel guitar lessons. It wasn't until his older brother Travis Holley returned from the Marine Corps with a $15 pawnshop Harmony that Buddy took up guitar. "I taught him a few basic chords - - G,C,D,A,E," recalls Travis, "and before long he was telling me, 'No, Travis, you're playing it wrong, it should go like this.'" Buddy was very quick to learn.  -Larry Holley (The Buddy I Knew)

Peggy Sue Gerron had a crush on Buddy Holly since the day she had tripped over him in the halls of Lubbock High School. He reportedly complimented her as 'pretty' and she considered him 'attractive, not nerdy.' “Lubbock, Texas, in 1954 and 1955 was very, very provincial,” says Harold Womack, who was one year behind Holly at Lubbock High School. Another classmate, James Pritchard, says: “Buddy was pretty much of a loner, too. It was pretty hard on him around here for a while. A lot of people would laugh at some of the stuff he’d do.” “We called Buddy ‘Four Eyes’ because he was farsighted and wore glasses. Buddy was not popular in school. It was Buddy that impressed Elvis back stage after the concert at Fair Park Coliseum in 1955. Buddy showed Elvis how to play slide guitar when he was playing ‘Big Boss Man.’ Also, it was Larry Welborn that showed Bill Black, Elvis’s bass player, how to slap the bass by loosening the E string... They called us all rock hillbillies, then it was changed to rockabilly and Alan Freed started to call it rock-n-roll.” —Tinker Carlen interviewed by Dick Stewart for The Lance Monthly, May 2008 issue.

The essence of rock and roll genius is synthesis. Buddy Holly was the most innovative performer of the 1950s, the single most important rocker in the aftermath of Elvis, a Do-It-Yourself idol in an era of stars manipulated and puppeteered by backstage deals and big-bucks payola. Chuck Berry poeticized the 1950s teenage America, but his chord structures and melodic harmonies lacked Holly's classical sophistication. Jerry Lee Lewis played a great rock piano, but he didn't have Holly's versatility. Eddie Cochran, who was often described as 'James Dean with a guitar,' pioneered punk-rock. Holly was the most original, creating new progressions to the time-worn 12-Bar blues style. Elvis had a burning stage charisma and a panther strut, but Buddy Holly could ram raw rock and roll, coo croony ballads, wax weird comedy tunes, and slash a fiery Fender vibrato guitar. "Peggy Sue" showed Holly's genius in altering regular rock and roll to cult status: it glides in the guitar-friendly key of A major. On the third verse, Holly suddenly steeplechases into a weird, wild Polynesian F major chord. "Oh Boy" leads off on a traditional 12-bar Blues double verse, stomps off into a booming bridge on the downbeat dominant seventh chord E-7, throttling his way into rock and roll destiny. 

Philosophically, "It doesn't matter anymore" (a pioneer violin strings experiment) presages a glum world view, the grunge music (Kurt Cobain, Wilco) and musically is cutting-edge for 1959, rivaling "Everyday" as a profound music minuet. "It doesn't matter anymore" offers a voluptuous variation of the archetypical blues riff, sliding through the tonic notes, sensuously shuffling the root C and the G-A-Bb-A-G pyramid, blending a slide guitar with an unheard-of classical major seventh interval. Of all the 50's rock and roll giants, including Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly was the most selfless, the most talented and the most likable. He loved his music, his wife, and his fans. "Rock N Roll Gold Rush" (2003) by Maury Dean

"Most of the time Buddy Holly spent in Lubbock was dedicated to perfecting that art form, rock-n-roll, which he would bring to the misfit youth of America and the world. Buddy's dream changed the world. While Elvis will always be the King of Rock-n-Roll, Buddy Holly is most certainly its George Washington. Buddy brought Rock-n-Roll to the people who truly needed it. Buddy Holly gave hope to all the outcasts, misfits, artists, dreamers, shakers, wailers & moaners of the world."—"Buddy Holly: Master Dreamcrafter" (2000) by Chris Oblesgy

Buddy’s father looked on Maria Elena as his daughter, he later told Goldrosen. L. O. Holley heaped extravagant praise on her, telling her that her marriage to his son was the most beneficial thing that had ever occurred in Buddy’s life: She had unleashed Buddy from Norman Petty’s strings, and marriage was transforming Buddy into a real “man.”  In 1993 Maria Elena recalls his farewell words to her before joining the Winter Dance Party tour in the late January 1959: “Buddy said, ‘I want you to take care of yourself and my baby.” In all likelihood, the last thing Buddy Holly saw was the face of Maria Elena and that of their unborn child. —"The Day Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens" (2003) by Larry Lehmer

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas (Vintage Rock & Roll)

Christmas Songs from the 50's: (Everybody's Waitin' For) the Man with the Bag by Kay Starr 1950, Santa's Surprise 1947, It's Christmas Time again by Peggy Lee & Victor Young 1953, Pluto's Christmas Tree 1952, December by Kay Starr, Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt 1953, Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong 1953, Rudolf the rednosed reindeer 1948, The Christmas Blues by Dean Martin 1953, Dig that crazy Santa Claus by Oscar McCollie & His Honeyjumpers 1954, Judy Garland - Christmas Special 1963, Mrs. Santa Claus by Nat King Cole, I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald 1957, Christmas In Connecticut 1945, This time of year by Brook Benton 1959, The Bishop's Wife 1947, Santa bring my baby back to me by Elvis Presley 1957, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve by Ella Fitzgerald 1960.


La Bamba Cola, on-line video games and limited-edition guitars are some of the products planned to bring revive the popularity of Ritchie Valens. The new licensing and merchandising deal by Southern California-based C3 Entertainment marks the first time that the image of the teenage Latino rock pioneer -- who died with Buddy Holly in a 1959 plane crash -- will be promoted through an official licensing initiative sanctioned by Valens’ family. Ani Khachoian, C3’s Executive Vice President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution, told Billboard: “We want to make sure every fan has the opportunity to rediscover this rock ’n’ roll icon, and that we introduce Valens to new audiences. He was a talented, positive young man, who worked hard. It’s a wonderful legacy for young people.”

C3 also represents the legacy of The Big Bopper, who died in the snowy crash with Valens and Holly while on their Winter Dance Party tour. In addition, C3 created the licensing program for John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, a current touring tribute show featuring Mueller performing as Holly, with other artists paying homage to Valens and the Big Bopper.

Ritchie Valens, best known for his hit “La Bamba,” signed to Del-Fi Records in 1958 and recorded two albums, releasing singles that included “Donna,” which reached no. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The 1978 movie La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips with music performed by Los Lobos, brought Valens’ story to new audiences; the soundtrack album sold 2 million copies in the United States. C3’s Khachoian says that a La Bamba Cola beverage is set to be manufactured and distributed by the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shops chain. Source:

Limited edition (1997) of the Buddy Holly commemorative Coca-Cola bottle. In September 1997 the Lubbock Music Festival in Texas celebrated what would have been the founder of Rock & Roll's 61st birthday, whose birth date was September 7, 1936. In his memory, the Coca-Cola Company made 5,000 Special Commemorative  Buddy Holly Coke bottles. Source:

In early December 1957, the Crickets flew back to Texas, their first visit home since becoming international recording stars. As if it had undergone a mass lobotomy, Lubbock took no official notice of their homecoming, though Buddy Holly was the only famous person the city had ever produced. As if to prove he was a star, he rented a limousine from the airport to his parents’ humble dwelling. Gazing out the limo window, he saw that nothing had changed in Lubbock. He was disappointed when he arrived home and found no one there, his mother later told Bill Griggs. During the 1957 Christmas holidays the first royalty check, $192,000, arrived from Coral/Brunswick. Where, they wondered, were their $50,000 songwriting royalties for “That’ll Be the Day,” which should have been split three ways between Buddy, the Crickets, and Norman Petty? and [where were] their Broadcast Music Incorporated earnings (fees collected for each air play on radio and television)? When pressed, Petty offered no records to prove his contention. Hi Pockets Duncan revealed in a radio special on Buddy Holly that Petty had been siphoning 90 percent of their earnings.

Christmas 1957 found the Crickets on the rising platform stage of the nation’s No. 1 showplace in the heart of Times Square. Their co-stars on Alan Freed’s “Holiday of Stars Twelve Days of Christmas Show” were Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Everly Brothers. Many of the performers on the Paramount bill, including the Crickets, regarded the Paramount show as the culmination of the their careers. All his life Joe B. had been told he’d never amount to more than “a cotton farmer from Lubbock, Texas,” he related to Bill Griggs, but now “we were on Times Square in New York and it was Christmastime.” Nowhere is Christmas observed with more panache than in Manhattan, where, in Rockefeller Center, a block-long row of silver angels trumpets their welcome all the way from Sak’s Fifth Avenue to the huge Christmas tree in the skating rink underneath the RCA Building. In the windows at Lord & Taylor’s department store, animated puppets re-create familiar fairy tales and Yuletide stories. —Buddy Holly: A Biography (1995) 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Buddy Holly: playing for the fans of the future

Decca continued its insensitivity to Holly's talent and total mismanagement of his career. Buddy Holly was unable to pay his musicians. Sonny Curtis did not come to Nashville this time, nor did Jerry Allison. Only Don Guess accompanied him when he went into Bradley’s Barn on November 15, 1956, to record “Modern Don Juan” and “You Are My One Desire.” No hits emerged from this session, but both songs contained glimmers of Buddy’s genius. “Modern Don Juan” is the story of a virile teenager who is a victim of his own promiscuity. With half the girls in his neighborhood gossiping about what a stud he is, the one girl he really cares about is unimpressed when he says he’s fallen in love with her. 

Buddy Holly and Hutchinson Jr. High pal Bob Montgomery had done a Lubbock ‘Hayride’ live gig on KDAV radio at tender age 15 or so, with help from Amarillo DJ guru Hi-Pockets Duncan. Somehow Holly scored a contract with Decca, but they ditched Montgomery. Buddy and the Three Tunes cut his first Nashville record with country producer Owen Bradley—“Love Me” on January 26, 1956. It didn’t vault to the top, but did shimmer with hot licks of star guitar guys Sonny Curtis on lead and Grady Martin on rhythm. Famous session guy Martin sparks Elvis tunes, and picks Marty Robbins’ Tex-Mex riffs on #1, ‘59 “El Paso.” Buddy’s road to the big time, however, screeched to a dismal detour, for 1956 made Elvis, not Buddy, a superstar.

Sonny James, whose ballad “Young Love” hit #1 in 1956, and Hank Thompson knew young (19 years old) Buddy Holly had a one-in-a-million voice. They signed him up to open for country stars Faron Young and young George Jones. Buddy’s original session in Nashville, with great guitars and steady stand-up bass musings of Don Guess, omitted one key component—a drummer (Doug Kirkham is listed on ‘percussion’). By October ‘56, a mysterious Thompson tour coalesced somewhere—gig dates are lost in the swirls of yestergone bye-bye Miss American Pie.

In this magical mystery tour, they brought the 2nd genius, 16-year-old drumstick wizard and Lubbock High pal Jerry Allison, to boost the beat of Don Guess’s big bull fiddle, with Buddy’s hot licks on guitar. Thompson was so impressed with his opening band of kids juiced with sizzly Texan energy, that he signed them up for a January 1957 winter tour of Little Rock, Arkansas, plus 14 other dates at burgs like New Orleans, Jacksonville, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. 

The first, innovative stage of rock ’n’ roll approached its concluding days. The aftershocks of the police riot during Alan Freed's "Big Beat” show at the Boston Arena on May, 3, 1958 were extremely damaging to the way rock ’n’ roll was viewed around the world. According to the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover,  rock ’n’ roll was now subversive.  The establishment had reacted by branding rockers as subversives and revolutionaries and would set out to destroy the rock movement. The sensitive, usually well-behaved and law-abiding young rock singers were astonished that the music they’d invented for their own amusement in Texas garages and on Bronx street corners was now regarded as seditious or they could be prosecuted for treason.

Buddy Holly’s relations with the Crickets remained tenuous. The Crickets had lost all interest in performing. According to Jerry, they started “shucking it.” Buddy threatened to fire them if they persisted in goofing off. Anyone who expected to be in his band, he warned, had better demonstrate more enthusiasm and interest.  They did not perform with him during the October 21 Pythian Temple “string session” in New York that produced, in three and a half hours, what writer Mark Steuer has called “the most inventive music of 1950’s rock”: “True Love Ways” and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” After recording “Raining in My Heart” and “Moondreams,” Buddy expressed his worries about how the rock market would greet his experiment with violins. Obviously Holly valued his integrity and sense of responsibility toward his talent and career above money.

Buddy Holly managed to have Maria Elena Santiago invited to a luncheon at Howard Johnson's, thanks to Murray Deutch's secretary at Peer-Southern, Jo Harper. Holly asked Maria Elena to have dinner with him at P. J. Clarke's. Holly proposed marriage to her that night. "While we were having dinner, he got up and came back with his hands behind his back. He brought out a red rose and said, 'This is for you. Would you marry me?' Within the beautiful red rose, there was a ring. I melted." Holly went to her house the next morning and Maria jumped into his arms, which was a sign to him that it was a "yes". They married in Lubbock on August 15, 1958, less than two months later, she told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.

Holly’s parents, Lawrence and Ella, flew to New York to meet Maria Elena. They went out to dinner and later went to the cinema, watching Mr. Roberts starring Henry Fonda and Betsy Palmer. “Buddy’s parents liked me; they said I was like a little doll.” Music historians have reported that Holly was planning to build a new home and recording studio in his hometown, but Maria had told Buddy that she never would feel comfortable living in Lubbock. He assured her that the home would be occupied only by his parents, she said. Source:

Actually, Buddy Holly first took Maria Elena to lunch in Manhattan at Howard Johnson's. After lunch, Buddy & Maria Elena shopped awhile by Tiffany’s; he bought a few guitar picks and Maria some jewelry. Later he took her to P.J. Clarke’s Pub nearby. Then the impetuous and starry-eyed idol asked her if she’d like to spend the rest of her life with him. After catching her breath, requisite I-love-yous were exchanged, and they launched into their happily ever after. Sadly, their happily-ever-after only lasted a half year. Maria Elena was worldly, tempestuous, and not the slightest bit domestic. “My aunt and I always ate out,” Maria Elena said: “We never cooked!” That was okay: He wasn’t looking for his mother or another Echo McGuire. Buddy gave Maria Elena a check to buy a wedding dress in Lubbock. Another cheque drawn on the Buddy Holly and the Crickets account and signed by Norman Petty, reads, ‘To: Gift Mart Jlrs Inc. $515 For: Ring – engagement.’

Matt McClure as Buddy Holly with Ariella Corinne Pizarro as his wife Maria Elena, in the Venice Theatre's production of "The Buddy Holly Story" (2015), Sarasota, Florida.

The rock package shows of the fifties were largely Irvin Feld’s innovation; their all-rock-star rosters distinguished them from their British counterparts. In England, rock tours were made up of traditional music-hall variety acts with perhaps a single rock attraction on the bill. Nevertheless GAC would come in for severe criticism for its treatment of rock ’n’ roll performers. “The executives of the company didn’t like rock music,” Frank Barcelona, a former GAC agent, revealed in Robert Stephen Spitz’s Artists and Executives of the Rock Music Business: “The way the agency treated rock performers was a crime.… They didn’t like rock performers, knew nothing about the music, couldn’t relate to the audiences.” Shivering and miserable, the performers realized too late that the Winter Dance Party tour was a “third-class operation,” Dion recalled. Discredited by riots and controversy,  the artists were abandoned to abominable conditions in far-flung territories like the upper Midwest. 

The bus’s worn-out engine frequently stalled, usually when they were thirty miles from the closest service station. To ease the tension, Buddy and Dion played “dueling guitars,” wagering to see who could make his Fender Stratocaster ring the longest. Dion’s Fender was solid white, Buddy’s had a sunburst. Ritchie Valens joined the fun, strumming his acoustic and singing songs like “Mama Long,” which he’d made the rage of Pacoima Junior High. During the long ride over icy roads, Ritchie sat with Buddy and rapped about the notorious “girl” songs they’d both been having so much success with. Buddy had virtually invented the genre with “Peggy Sue,” while Ritchie was now scoring the hit of the year with “Donna.” Peggy Sue had already entered the vernacular; Ritchie had mentioned her in “Ooh My Head,” a song he performed in Alan Freed’s movie Go, Johnny, Go! (1959)

They began the 330-mile trip to Appleton, Wisconsin, rumbling along the shores of Lake Superior, where ice floes were colliding like battering rams, entering the North Woods. The heater was no match for icy blasts from the lake, but it was all that stood between them and cruel exposure. Somewhere around Ashland, Wisconsin, the heater heaved its last puny puffs and died. The loose, rattling windows let in the cold and frost. Fifteen miles out of Hurley, disaster struck. They were going up a hill when the engine froze and stopped. “The bus finally broke down, out there in the middle of the wilderness,” Carl Bunch later told Bill Griggs. They were stalled on the highway, in a bus with no heater. The tour party was on U.S. 51, a mile north of Pine Lake, Wisconsin, in the rugged North Woods, not a place where anyone would want to be stranded at one-thirty A.M. on February 1, 1959, during the coldest weather in memory. The bus driver peered into the woods beside the highway; he could “feel” bears out there, he reported in Voyageur: Northeast Wisconsin’s Historical Review. At least the musicians had the protection of the bus, but even that would soon be denied them. When they ran out of newspapers to burn and began to freeze, they were forced to go outside, hoping to hail down a car. They stood in the middle of the highway, where the wind keening down from the north was as sharp as splintered glass.

The surrounding forest and the Great Lake beyond the trees seemed full of menace. In the early morning hours, traffic in these North Woods was all but nonexistent. The tour party was far less prepared to survive this wilderness than the French explorers who’d discovered it in the 1600s. “We didn’t know enough to be afraid, or what a mid-winter night by the side of the road really meant,” Dion wrote in The Wanderer. It was an hour, Tommy Allsup later told, before a big semi-truck came thundering through the snow. They all started waving frantically. Obviously the driver had no intention of stopping “and tried to get around us,” Tommy added. As the truck disappeared into the enveloping snow, they trudged back to the bus. “We just sat there and froze,” Tommy recalled. Freezing is indeed one of the more gruesome ways to die. Human tissue deteriorates at temperatures below 32 degrees. By now the temperature in the bus was 40 below. The Riverside Ballroom’s dance floor was packed with two thousand teenagers boogying under a gigantic sunburst ceiling.

Some of the girls wore ballet slippers and skintight “stem” skirts; others had on balloon layers of petticoats. Bouffant hair stylings were popular, though many girls looked pert in ponytails and Peter Pan collars. The boys wore their hair crew-cut and preferred dirty white bucks or Florsheim loafers. One fan, Sandy Stone Blaney of Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, later told writer Mark Steuer how she edged her way to the front of the stage and reached up to Buddy, who “held my hand and sang a song to me,” she said. “And Dion held Sharon Larscheid’s hand and sang a song to her.” When Buddy discovered that GAC had greedily filled their one open date, he was distraught. As the tour manager Carroll Anderson would later observe, Buddy by this point was “just a high-class bum being kicked around on the road.” Buddy felt responsible for the morale of his band, which was at an all-time low after its ordeal in the North Woods. Bob Hale, a radio DJ who emceed the Winter Dance Party at the Surf that night, recalls Holly asked if he could touch Hale's pregnant wife's belly. They talked about Iowa's tough winters, and Holly promised he'd come back in the spring.

In “Not Fade Away” Holly asks his girl to make love to him, promising she’ll get something bigger than a Cadillac. The relationship of the couple in the song follows the same up-and-down, off-and-on course: the singer chastizes his girl for rejecting him, but by the final verse, he’s regained his confidence and is able to assert that the only love that doesn’t die is one grounded in honesty and trust. In rock critic Jonathan Cott’s words, “Holly’s deepest, wisest, and seemingly least complicated songs express the unadorned confrontation of beauty and love with time.” Even though the Big Bopper was six years his senior, Buddy seemed the elder statesmen of the tour in his chunky new Faiosa spectacle-frames and fur-collared coat. He was a self-controlled, abstemious figure who preferred to be alone in his hotel-room (when there was an hotel-room) rather than joining the others to ‘shoot the bull’ down in the bar or coffee-shop. His brother Larry Holley: "My feelings about Buddy: His desire was to be the best. I personally think he would have reached the very pinnacle of the music world if he had got to live longer. Norman Petty cheated Buddy out of millions of dollars by putting his name on every song that Buddy wrote. Also, it's my opinion that The Crickets (Jerry Allison and Joe B.) both deserted Buddy, but they keep riding on his shirttail. They can't write good songs, but just like Norman, they have got their name on songs they could never have written." Sources: —"This'll Be the Day: The Life and Legacy of Buddy Holly" (2009) by Maury Dean, —"Rave On: The Biography of Buddy Holly" (2011) by Philip Norman

"Damn Cold in February: Buddy Holly, View-Master, and the Atomic Bomb" (2015) by Joni Tevis: Buddy Holly giving it everything he's got... If you knew Peggy Sue, then you'd know why I feel blue, and as he moves into the second verse, the camera on Stage Right goes live, and he pivots smoothly. His fingers are a blur, but he doesn't make mistakes, and that tamped-down sex—how had I missed it?—burns in his eyes. And there's something about the way he stares at the camera that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Elvis, the Big Bopper, Johnny Cash, all play to the audiences at the time mugging for the camera. But watching Buddy, he's playing to the fans of the future. Maybe Holly savors these giddy minutes of getting ready in a strange place, cement-floored dressing rooms with chipped green paint, hand-me-down dressers, and mirrors fastened to the wall with daisy-shaped rivets. He carries with him guitar strings, fuses, safety pins, nail file... And outside, the scurf of people talking, waiting for the show. Waiting for him, Maria Elena, back in their little apartment, lighting the pilot on the stove. The honeymoon in Acapulco. The property in Bobalet Heights: all of these cost money. He's playing the first chords of "Peggy Sue" without even realizing it, diving deep into a pool. Feels the crowd stomping through the soles of his feet, and between songs he has to take off his glasses and wipe the sweat from his eyes. Slides the glasses on. Looks back. When you're with me, the world can see. That you were meant for me. "A studious-looking young man who totes his electric guitar like a sawn-off shot-gun." —Review of Buddy Holly performance, Birmingham, England, March 11, 1958.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rock & Roll, Buddy Holly's Lasting Art

Classic-rock radio stations thrive parasitically on nostalgia, slowly incorporating ’90s to early-2000s tracks. As radio analyst Sean Ross sees it, even the active rock and alternative formats now feature few current releases, and those that do get played are either unable to cross over to top 40 or are softer genre hybrids that are very debatable as rock at all. Young female artists appropriate rock’s ­flexibility to express out-of-bounds thoughts while ignoring clich├ęd postures. The likes of St. Vincent, Alabama Shakes, Courtney Barnett, Angel Olsen, embody the thought that Kurt Cobain scribbled in his late ’80s notebooks: “I like the comfort in knowing that women are the only future in rock’n’roll.” Source:

David Bowie, Prince, George Martin and Leonard Cohen were among the legends on this year’s grim roster. Is it time to add rock music itself? America was a ­quarter-century out from Nirvana’s Nevermind, the album that rescued rock from its early-’90s doldrums -- as far off now as the releases of Revolver, Pet Sounds and Blonde on Blonde were then. By contrast, consider how few new rock artists of comparable staying power or cultural significance have emerged since that decade’s alt-rock surge. “There is no figurehead band you could point to,” says critic Steven Hyden, host of the ­podcast Celebration Rock: “... a band that comes from nowhere and takes over the culture... that’s ­unquestionably over -- if a band like that came out, there would be no infrastructure to support it.” In the “rock era,” there was more space for eccentrics to skew the game.

Rock is now where Jazz was in the early 1980s. From Louis Armstrong in the 1920s to Duke Ellington in the ’30s to Charlie Parker in the ’50s to Miles Davis in the ’60s, jazz evolved at superspeed and never looked over its shoulder. That is where rock finds itself, in a stage of reflection on past glories. Rock-star memoirs are a booming business — Bob Dylan, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, made it cool with “Chronicles: Volume One” in 2004. Rock ’n’ roll as we know it was named in the mid-1950s: a “new” invention, the electric guitar, replaced the horn section. The performer was usually the songwriter, and there was a standard of honesty and authenticity in the rock musician that made him more artist than entertainer. The musicians who wish to push rock forward are no longer in the mainstream. Rock ’n’ roll certainly is for old people now. It’s for those young people who want it, too. Like any music that lasts, it’s for anyone who cares to listen. Source:

The crash of the Bonanza Beechcraft in Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 1959, marked the end of the first extraordinary phase of rock ’n’ roll, the period from 1955 to 1959 during which the basic innovations were introduced by Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. Death or misadventure claimed the founding fathers of rock, who were never to repeat the successes of those years. The Army drafted Elvis in his heyday, while religious fervor temporarily derailed Little Richard. The others fell rapidly too. Scandal damaged Jerry Lee’s reputation. The law unmercifully hounded Berry. A near-fatal car smashup sidetracked Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly was forever silenced in a snowy cornfield. Gigantic as Holly's achievement was, we barely glimpsed the dawn of his talent. It was his frenetic, hard-rocking songs as well as the late ballads that are so tough, mournful, and wise, that transformed the agonies and joys of his brief days into lasting art.

“I don’t want to be rich. I don’t even want to be in the limelight. But I want people to remember the name Buddy Holley.” —Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly helped Roy Orbison with lead structures on some of the songs Roy was trying to write. When Roy Orbison, from Wink, Texas, 125 miles south of Lubbock, heard Buddy on KDAV, it altered his life. It was Buddy who showed Orbison the lick that would become so popular years later when Roy recorded “Pretty Woman.” Buddy’s detractors were mostly mediocre C&W pickers who envied his talent, but they had a shattering effect on his self-esteem. He began to withdraw from the crowd, turning inward. Despite his standoffishness, Buddy’s smart-aleck persona quickly reasserted itself anytime he felt secure, especially when he was with other musicians, or a girl who liked him. Holly had the kind of determination known only to heroes and fools. In profile, he looked strangely Martian, but when he faced the camera he was handsome, with a big, heroic forehead, gull-wing eyebrows, a squared-off chin, and a strong jaw-line.

“I Forgot to Remember to Forget” was Buddy’s favorite Elvis Presley song. Buddy recorded it at radio station KLLL, whose DJs played it for years. Mrs. Holly loved Buddy’s version so much that she said it was superior to Elvis’s. Unfortunately, the cut has not survived. Once Buddy began to release professionally the following year, he was required by contract to withdraw his amateur records from circulation. When Elvis came back to Lubbock in 1955, he offered to help Buddy get on “The Louisiana Hayride” if he’d come to Shreveport, where the show was broadcast every Saturday night over station KWKH from the Municipal Auditorium. Buddy and his friends set out for Shreveport, 512 miles southeast of Lubbock, driving the ’55 Olds. It proved to be a wild goose chase; “Elvis was supposed to get us on and he wasn’t there,” Larry Welborn told Bill Griggs in 1986.

The rock ballad “I Guess I Was Just a Fool” is the first sign that Buddy Holly was capable of exploring deeper feelings and emotional states with insight and depth. In this song, the story of a man who has lost a relationship but is glad to know he’s at least capable of experiencing love, Buddy seems to be drawing on his ill-starred love for Echo McGuire. The plaintive “Because I Love You,” the song Buddy had just written, suggests the emotional pain he was going through as Echo drifted away from him in 1956. In the lyric, the singer expresses his fear that his girlfriend has found someone else and states he would rather die than go through the rest of his life without her. Buddy poured his bitterness, tinged with acid wit, into the legendary “That’ll Be the Day.”

In 1957, Buddy Holly's band found some of his expectations to be unrealistic and began to leave him in rapid succession. “The main thing was that there wasn’t any money coming in,” Sonny Curtis asserted in 1993. Without a band, Buddy considered giving up his singing career. He was never as confident as later portrayed in legend, Mrs. Holley told Griggs in 1979, after the release of Gary Busey’s film about Buddy, and “came darn near quitting for a time or two,” she revealed. But underlying all the failures was a quiet certitude about his destiny that was as strong as his faith in God. As a last resort, he drove to Clovis to see Norman Petty. Buddy was an inveterate night owl, and so was Petty, reaching their peak from three to six A.M. Norma Jean Berry, Petty’s secretary, often found The Crickets sprawled over the sofa. They’d rub their eyes, drink their morning coffee, then swarm into the studio to record the brilliant songs Buddy was composing in early 1957.

He was on a fantastic creative roll, turning out “Everyday,” “Words of Love,” “Listen to Me,” “Tell Me How,” and “Peggy Sue” in six months. At once sensual, meditative, and spiritual, “Words of Love” is an enduring love song, most likely inspired by intimate exchanges between Buddy and Echo in their years together. The lyrics, mellow and beguiling, suggest the late-night murmurs of lovers who’ve just been inside of each other—body and soul. The Crickets recorded “Words of Love” on a sunny, warm day in April 1957.

One day he rode his Ariel Cyclone up to Shaw’s Jewelry Store in Clovis to buy a present for Maria Elena. The clerk, a Clovis woman named Maxine Nation, told Bill Griggs in 1984 that Buddy was wearing a black leather jacket when she noticed him standing at the diamond counter, studying gems. She assumed that he was an ordinary biker until she noticed that his hands and fingernails were very different. As Maxine displayed an array of jewels, she was struck by Buddy’s politeness and charm, though she still didn’t recognize him. Buddy finally selected a diamond pendant and offered to cover the cost of a long-distance call to Lubbock. When he volunteered the information that he was in Clovis to make records at Petty’s studio, Maxine did a double-take and asked him if he was really Buddy Holly. Later she told Griggs that Buddy laughed and said, “I guess so.” Maxine told him that in person he had the same radiance as he had on his recordings.

Norman Petty could not face the fact that Buddy Holly had evolved beyond the Clovis/Tex-Mex ethos. Years later, in an interview with Skip Brooks and Bill Malcolm, Petty still found it difficult to address why he hadn’t been more supportive of Buddy’s need to experiment and grow as an artist; Petty admitted he had lacked vision. While in New York, Buddy purchased a gold chain for the diamond pendant he’d bought for Maria Elena in Clovis. Petty was aware of Maria Elena’s hold on him and knew that she had told Buddy he could get along perfectly well without the Crickets and that he no longer required the services of Norman Petty.  —Buddy Holly: A Biography (1995)

Buddy Holly was never at odds with Lubbock (Texas): He was of Lubbock, and his brand of genius—good-natured, unthreateningly prankish, even respectful, but also surefooted and stubborn as hell—was literally homespun. Raised from hardworking stock in a hardworking town, Buddy had his own preoccupation but never once expected Lubbock to drop what it was doing on his account. What his family, his hometown, and the radio didn’t supply, Buddy found within himself. In effect, he set his own politely maverick personality to music. Lubbock would not have applauded an outright rebel, and Buddy wasn’t one. Offstage, he was the shy next-door neighbor type, a good ol’ boy. But he was totally ex­plosive onstage. Buddy had had his teeth capped to cover the gray traces caused by Lubbock’s heavily fluorinated water. His haircut was less unruly; his wardrobe included Ivy League-style suits purchased at Phil’s Mens Shop in New York, and he had discarded his wire eyeglasses in favor of the heavy black frames that would become a Holly trademark. Source:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"I met Marilyn", Buddy Holly's 'Memories'

Over several decades, broadcaster Neil Sean asked every star he met for their personal memories of Marilyn Monroe, and has published them in a new book: I met Marilyn (2016).

Jack Lemmon, the star of Some Like It Hot, The Apartment and The Odd Couple was among the first to know that Marilyn Monroe was having an affair with President John F Kennedy. Lemmon used to live at silent movie star Harold Lloyd’s old house. He recalled: “One day I was coming back home and there’s this helicopter doing a low lazy circle above it. And there were these guys in funny suits and funny glasses, standing around watching Marilyn and JFK having a frolic in the pool.” Marilyn, as it turned out, wasn’t remotely embarrassed that he had seen her naked in the pool with the President. 

One man who wasn’t wild about Marilyn was the singer who’d married two stars in succession — Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor — and he’d learned quite a bit about the seamier side of Hollywood. Marilyn, Eddie Fisher told me, was "a user" — reeling in men who could be useful to her, then discarding them when they’d served their purpose. “Marilyn Monroe was a serious player. She used people — she played them off, and I was a victim, too. When I first met her at the start of the Fifties, she made a beeline for me and asked me out on many occasions for a date. But she wasn’t the ‘Marilyn’ creation then — pretty but fake.”

“One thing about Marilyn,” Joan Rivers said, “was that she wasn’t a great gay fan: she loathed the idea that some men might not find her attractive. I told her about my gay pals and she looked bemused. She had a hard time even believing Rock Hudson was gay.” Like Debbie Reynolds, Joan Rivers was convinced Marilyn was murdered. “Sure, she was a pill addict and had problems, but none of the story of her death stacks up. I blame the Kennedys: without a doubt, she got mixed up in some terrible trouble. Given all she had going for her, why would she suddenly kill herself? She wasn’t the type to do it.” Source:

In the preface to his new book Moment by Moment, former LIFE photographer John Loengard notes that the thing about a good photograph is that it cannot be repeated. What it captures will never happen again, though now it is frozen in time by the image. “That may explain why an image of a brief moment, an instant in time, can hold our interest forever,” he writes. Loengard’s latest book is a survey that takes a closer look at a variety of the many iconic images he has created during the last 60 years. It is filled with quiet, intimate moments, from a laughing Marilyn Monroe to a young boy turning his head at the sound of his mother calling. Pictured on the cover is the famous photo of the Beatles in a swimming pool at Miami Beach in 1964. This photo in fact never ran on the cover of LIFE magazine – although as illustrated here, it is certainly cover worthy — but ran in the back of the book as a Miscellany. Source:

Buddy Holly embodied, as much as James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, the central conflict of the 1950s: conformity with establishment values versus individuality/rebellion. While he wore leather and rode a motorcycle, he was a devout fundamentalist Christian, hounded by a puritanical conscience that condemned rock and roll as evil. Perhaps it was this innate contradiction that made him so great. The songs Buddy Holly wrote and sang are among the most original and ecstatic Rock would ever know. Buddy tried out contact lenses in 1956, but they were very uncomfortable back in those days —so he stuck to glasses. And under those big-framed black horn-rims he adopted, there was a very good-looking young man. I was intrigued by the close-up of Buddy with his trademark glasses and movie star good looks. —"The Life and Music of Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer Buddy Holly" (2009) by Staton Rabin and "Words of Love 1959-2009" (2010) by Gary Clevenger 

Jive Bunny - Ultimate Christmas Party. Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers use songs sampling and synthesisers to combine pop music from the early rock and roll era together into a medley.

John Beecher: Personally, my big disappointment would be that the hopes we had in the ‘50s and ‘60s, that there would be a better world and that people would learn to live together, have pretty well been dashed in recent years. Thank goodness we still have the music that will never change—those same records we first heard then are still important to me and it's good to know that Danny and The Juniors got it just right when they sang, "Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die." Source:

Memories are precious. The self-reported uses of autobiographical memory. They bond relationships, contribute to a sense of identity, and shape current decisions and future planning. Memories may also seem eternal, like cherished photographs in an album we peruse from time to time. Our memories play major roles in making us who we are. Our beliefs about our personal histories both reflect and constitute central aspects of ourselves. Practitioners (e.g., police officers, medical personnel, career guidance counsellors, historians, and political scientists), in a variety of everyday settings routinely rely on individuals’ autobiographical memory reports sometimes basing extremely consequential decisions on individuals’ reports of their personal histories. Yet remembering the past is a complex phenomenon that is subject to error. Source:

I tried forgetting what you meant to me / For now I realize that I'm alone / In my mind I really know that you are gone / But my foolish heart refuses to see / Why you've left me alone with memories - "Memories" by Buddy Holly, written in the early 1950s. From the album "Holly In The Hills" (1965) 

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Buddy Holly's Life & Legacy by Maury Dean

Buddy Holly’s picture we all love is the black and white cover of his album The Buddy Holly Story (#11 on Billboard) that arose in early 1959, as the world mourned his untimely passing. It’s the picture where he resembles Clark Kent, with Superman’s music surging in his glowing guitar, whose everlasting trademark songs shatter time and space in innocence, purity, and rhythmic thunder. Any similarity between that B&W picture of bespectacled Buddy and Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent is NOT coincidental. Outshining Elvis in musical versatility and songwriting savvy, Buddy dialed his Fender Stratocaster guitar up to FULL SPEED AHEAD. Elvis is arguably the most important entertainer of all time. Buddy’s key role? The guy who designed the audial blueprint for all rock music to follow. 

As much as Mr. Beaubien invented the electric guitar in 1926, Buddy Holly was the instigator, the innovator, the one who mattered most, while rock rolls along, hurdling millenniums like speedbumps. You’ll see. Though not armed with the drop-dead telegenic looks of an Elvis, Holly was nevertheless a genius singer-songwriter who zoned in on his own unique sound, nurtured it into reality, and pulled the rug out from under pastel pop ditties that masqueraded for Teen Idol turf. I believe Buddy Holly was a nice guy who finished first. He was half-angel and half-imp. Through friendly goof-around persuasion, Buddy convincingly coached his Cricket bandmates to play certain riffs, cadenzas, and complex drum beats. Hokey as it may sound, Dion’s words cascade down to the present day—“Buddy was like the big brother I never had. He was the nicest guy I ever met.”

Buddy Holly never wanted to be Elvis. He was very modest, and happy enough being Buddy Holly. “Buddy Holly,” said Elvis Presley as soon as 1957, “is my  favorite singer.” Buddy gave all of us the notion, the will, and the gutsy optimism to rock. You couldn’t find a better rockin’ role model if you tried. Most of all, This’ll Be the Day  is a love story about Buddy Holly and his beautiful bride Maria Elena Santiago. According to Peter Asher (chief of the A&R department at the Beatles' Apple Records label), one of the greatest love stories of all time. Like Romeo and Juliet, Buddy and Maria Elena’s is truly the one story that rock and roll could never forget.

Perforating Amarillo, Texas, interstate Highway I-40 traded restaurants like Buddy’s local favorite drive-in the Hi-D-Ho, with the big sign CATFISH—FRIED OKRA—MALTEDS, out beyond where lost Norman Rockwell towns were fading away. Mystery surrounds the legend of Buddy Holly. One great book (John Goldrosen's Remembering Buddy) and a good one (Philip Norman’s Rave On) paint Holly’s All-American Lubbock childhood, both tremendous in scope. Buddy was elected the King of the Sixth Grade. It’s because he was the coolest kid. Buddy’s early life is spattered with adventures you’d expect from a kid at the top of Texas back in James Dean’s frenzied 50s.

Buddy majored in baseball all the way up in grammar school at Roscoe Wilson Elementary School in Lubbock. By five, his pix showed him as an apprentice buckaroo, replete with cowboy hat, boots, and a pony older than the 200-year-old Galapagos tortoise where explorer Capt. James Cook carved his initials on the shell. At age five, Buddy won a five-dollar prize at a nearby County Line talent show with his brothers by playing “Down the River of Memories,” according to brother Larry. The Holleys moved five times in 12 years. The Holleys might have been 'pretty much behind the eight-ball financially' as Larry put it, but thanks to the blessed egalitarianism of the educational system, Buddy lacked few things of the classic American boyhood than his better-off schoolfriends enjoyed.

Buddy Holly was the best musician of the whole batch of the 1950s. Buddy took piano lessons from a local teacher for nine months at some vague age close to ten or twelve, about the time he became King of the 6th Grade. Buddy got so he could dump the written musical notes, and play pieces by ear, but then he quit abruptly, says Goldrosen, even as he was getting proficient. Larry Holley: "I saw Buddy in the Battle of the Bands at the Tower Theater. There was a bunch of crazy kids, shouting and yelling. There'd been a lot of real good-looking singers up on that stage and when it was Buddy's turn to come on, all these kids started laughing at him and yellin' out things at him, like 'Old Turkey-neck!' But Buddy came from the side of the stage to the middle in one movement without seeming to move his feet at all, hit his guitar, and right away that whole crowd went wild."

Buddy Holly just never did a major scandal, no matter how tabloid titillators crank out frenzied fiction hustled as torrid half-truth. Buddy was actually just a guy who went to church, had a couple of romances (after his break-up with Echo McGuire), and then met the girl of his dreams. Buddy didn’t believe in stalling, while falling in love. Holly seemed to admire sprightly cheerleaders like Peggy Sue Gerron. Maria Elena reportedly said his husband detested Peggy Sue, though. Holly hid nothing in his love life, regardless of ridiculous falsehoods. Holly's anthem Peggy Sue redefined the male role that James Dean had started in Rebel without a Cause in 1955. Holly joined Dean and revolutionized the male mass media persona: tough was ok but tender was better. Holly admits vulnerability and captures the sweet quintaessence of affection, the antithesis to icy urban despair.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Bobby Vee (RIP) and Buddy Holly: Gentle Idols

Letter: I’ll always be grateful to Bobby Vee It has long been the norm to dismiss the “teen music” of the early 1960s with a sneer of condescension but having lived through that period, I’ll always be grateful to Bobby Vee. He brought kindness to his songs of love and loss, and endorsed gentleness in relationships, not just in the words of songs such as Take Good Care of My Baby but in his tone of voice. It was a huge treat to see Bobby in person in the All American Solid Gold Rock’n’Roll Show in Woking, Surrey, in 2000, when he commanded the stage with warmth and human generosity.

Bobby Vee, best known for hits including Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, died at the age of 73. Vee released more than 25 albums during his career, retiring in 2011 after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Vee's big break came about in 1959 at the age of 15 when he filled in for Buddy Holly after the singer's death in a plane crash. A call went out for local acts to replace Holly at his scheduled show at the Moorhead National Guard Armory. Vee and his band, which had only formed two weeks previously, volunteered.

Bobby Vee, born Robert Velline, also gave a young Bob Dylan his start. Dylan played briefly with Vee's band and he was the one who suggested Velline change his last name to Vee. Bobby Vee and the Shadows were signed in autumn 1959 and Vee had his first hit in the Billboard charts in 1960 with Devil or Angel. Source:

Vee had many hits, and a lot of high quality ones at that. That includes one I learned just a couple weeks ago, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.” It’s both cranked-out hack work and kind of brilliant. There’s no doubting either its corniness or its supreme craftsmanship. Part of that polish is the ease with which the young singer glides through its three contrasting sections. I happen to know that Vee liked to cut live in the studio with all the musicians there. Here it would mean a large string section. He never cared for the modern piecemeal approach to recording. I was given this tidbit by his nephew, who lives in the Twin Cities. Nothing is made that way now except movie soundtracks and classical music. “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” lyrics are kind of creepy in a David Lynch way. I’m sure he would have considered this song for one of his movies, if only because a cheerful, upbeat stalker would probably fascinate him. Bob Dylan, his polar opposite, remained a fan and a friend. Bobby Vee carried the torch from Buddy Holly and passed it on to the Beatles. He was a place holder, and he made that dry stretch a little better. He’ll be missed. Source:

Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth (2011)  Chapter 6: The Day the Music Was Born: On those tours in 1958, we went from glory to glory, headlining with the likes of Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues”), Gene Vincent (“Be-Bop-ALula”), and Bobby Darin (“Splish Splash”). In the fall we got invited to join another superstar, Buddy Holly, on what was billed as “The Biggest Show of Stars.” Buddy had a streak of hits that could make Joe DiMaggio jealous: “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh, Boy,” “Maybe, Baby,” and “It’s So Easy (to Fall in Love).” He’d only been recording for a year, but he had already established a rock and roll sound that everyone was mimicking. 

We spent three weeks together on “The Biggest Show of Stars,” and we established a strong relationship–friendship and mutual musical admiration. When Buddy invited me to join him on his upcoming all-star “Winter Dance Party” tour, I was honored. You may already know how this story ends; it’s part of rock-and-roll mythology. People call February 3, 1959, “the day the music died.” I was one of the headliners. I’ve read all the interviews, their stories, and I can authoritatively say to you that most of it is bunk. The events, as they happened, have been completely eclipsed by urban legends, cinematic retellings, gossip, and outright grandstanding. If all the people who said they’d flipped a coin with Buddy Holly were telling the truth, we would’ve needed a military personnel carrier to fit them all. But I guess a story like that makes for good TV, and it makes the guys respect you at the bar. I found the whole business distasteful.

Although Buddy Holly’s rise to fame may have seemed meteoric, it actually required not only tremendous musical talent but also a commitment to an often-grueling tour schedule, which contributed to his premature death. After agreeing to perform for another round of Alan Freed shows in December 1957, Holly and the Crickets once again hit the road, playing several venues east of the Mississippi River. Around this time, there was a growing public backlash against rock and roll, especially among parents, civic leaders, segregationists, and others who feared that this new music would undermine traditional social mores and encourage interracial mingling. 

Buddy Holly was never comfortable with the more rebellious “bad boy” image often associated with rock and roll. Holly traded his old-fashioned, clear plastic and silver-framed eyeglasses for a pair of black, horn-rimmed frames popularized by television celebrity Steve Allen. In Australia, January 1958, the tour performed before arena-sized crowds that were especially impressed by the Crickets. 

In fact, Jerry Lee Lewis later admitted that Buddy Holly was the true star of the show. The Crickets’ stage persona was somewhat different from that of other rock and roll bands at the time: Buddy Holly would often use folksy and self-deprecating humor on stage. The Crickets headed out on another grueling 44-day North American tour, known as the “Big Beat Tour,” which had been arranged by Alan Freed. Also on the tour were Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon, and Danny and the Juniors. Although Alan Freed’s “Big Beat Tour” was loaded with talent, attendance for most shows was lackluster. The public animosity toward the music was growing. Soon afterward, Massachusetts Governor William Fleming introduced a bill to ban rock and roll music from all government buildings. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover used this incident to argue that rock and roll was part of a Communist conspiracy to undermine Western freedom and democracy. “Not Fade Away”: The Geographic Dimensions of Buddy Holly’s Meteoric Career (2011) by Kevin Romig