Not only did we just pass the fifty-sixth (!) anniversary of what is still too often lazily – not to mention absolutely incorrectly – referred to as The Day The Music Died, but now comes word of a second Cricket’s passing.

While good ol’ Joe B.’s transition was, most thankfully, much more tranquil than that of his former mentor’s, I think it high time indeed to once again take pause, take stock, and reflect upon, tragic events notwithstanding,




Buddy Holly, alongside rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan, bassist Joe B. Mauldin (RIP), and drummist-extraordinaire Jerry Allison, formed the immaculately suited, fully self-contained singing/songwriting two-guitar-bass-drum template upon which some of the greatest pop-rock bands since, from those Beatles most obviously on down, were inextricably linked at the very hip.



When no less than that up-coming King of Western Bop Elvis Presley first blew into Lubbock, Texas on tour in 1955, homeboy Buddy Holly was not only right there in the front row cheering him on, but afterwards appointed himself the Hillbilly Cat’s exclusive host, guide and confidant for the ensuing sixteen hours. Duly inspired, Buddy immediately revamped his burgeoning Crickets from an alt.-bluegrass combo into Lubbock’s very own Elvis, Scotty and Bill …so successfully so, in fact, that several months later, when Elvis triumphantly returned to town, Buddy Holly had graduated from mere Tour Guide status to that of official on-stage Opening Act.

(Editor’s Note – This colour clip was shot silent in 1955 in Oklahoma City while Holly and Elvis Presley were working the two bottom slots on a country package tour headlined by Hank Snow — and apparently represents not only the earliest film footage of Holly but that of Elvis as well.)



After somehow failing to impress the usually infallible Owen Bradley with “That’ll Be The Day” at a 1956 demo session (“the worst song I ever heard” was his verdict), Buddy determinedly drove one thousand miles from Nashville to the Clovis, New Mexico studios of Norman Petty, where over the next eighteen months they turned a simple two-track facility into an audio workshop/lab from which came not only the look and attitude, but the very sounds of the 1960’s to come. Despite his so obviously prescient George Martin ways though, Petty must be docked serious points for screwing Buddy royally over songwriting credits, royalties, and even concert proceeds until the Holly estate could eventually be forever wrenched from his Machiavellian claws.



It may have lasted only twenty-five days, but when Buddy and his Crickets toured the United Kingdom in the spring of 1958, those watching closely and taking serious notes for future use were, amongst thousands of others, John Lennon and Paul McCartney (whose first-ever recording was a near note-perfect “That’ll Be The Day” shortly afterwards), Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (the former already proud owner of the Chirping Crickets album), Graham Nash and Allan Clarke (who soon grew their two-man Everlys act into the full, named-in-guess-who’s-honor Hollies), and pioneering British record producer Joe Meek …who subsequently became so obsessed over Holly that he not only killed his landlady, but himself on the eighth anniversary of Buddy’s own tragic demise.



It did indeed take a Buddy Holly composition to first put The Rolling Stones securely into the American hit parade with, at the very height of Beatlemania, Lennon / McCartney’s “I Wanna Be Your Man” unceremoniously relegated to the single’s B-side! And speaking of whom…



Buddy wrote the best song on the Beatles VI album; and, come to think of it, maybe even on Beatles For Sale.




Buddy’s wealth of songs have proven so adaptable, durable and downright sturdy as to withstand covers from the likes of our very own Rush (who also debuted on seven-inch vinyl with “Not Fade Away” I kid you not), the Grateful Dead, The Knack and even Linda Ronstadt. Not to mention “It’s So Easy” (-Off oven cleaner) and “Oh Boy” becoming “Oh, Buick!” television jingles at the behest of Holly’s supposedly sympathetic post-Petty publishing magnate Sir Paul McC. Quite highly recommended nevertheless is the 1977 McCartney-produced Holly Days, um, tribute album by then-Wing Denny Laine.



Years before he was to become the serial tragic clown of television reality programming, that perennially short-pant-legged dust storm known as Gary Busey deservedly nabbed an Oscar nomination for his title role in 1978’s Buddy Holly Story. Now while its script may have taken inexcusable Hollywood shortcuts in recounting our hero’s life and music, at least Gary, alongside co-stars Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith, became pretty damn garage-worthy Crickets all over the film’s soundtrack, performing as close to live whenever possible before the unforgiving cameras.



Weeks before his last-ever tour, a newly married Holly sang several song sketches into a tape recorder in his Greenwich Village apartment for what turned out to be posterity. Having already hinted at still non-categorizable sounds-to-come with tracks like “Everyday” and “Well… All Right,” Buddy’s last recordings leap even further into the unknown with covers of Ray Charles (!), Bing Crosby (!!), plus Holly’s own final compositions. Exquisite guitar-and-voice-only recordings, they are far more than simply “unplugged.” They are sublime, heartbreaking, and totally unique. As with most things Holly.



“And I just want to say that when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him. And he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was – I don’t know how or why – but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way.”

— Bob Dylan, 1998 Grammy Awards acceptance speech for Album of the Year Time Out Of Mind.


Gary appears here whenever he wants

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DBAWIS_ButtonGary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again gary pig gpld facong leftto Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-ever recording contract

9 Responses to “THINK IT OVER with GARY PIG GOLD”

  1. Well done Gary! Terrific information – a really good read. Thanks!

  2. Gary Sanders Says:

    So interesting – Thanks for the great information and songs.

  3. Great share Gary! Thanks!

  4. Pat Blythe Says:

    It’s amazing how people, places and events all link together — whether in the foreground or background — how deeply they and events affect and even change us – present or past. We are all connected. Excellent story and enjoyed the videos. Learn something new every day. Thanks!

  5. Joel Cadesky Says:

    It was my honour to have Buddy Holly as the ist singer on the Vinyl from the Crypt

  6. […] Be On My Way  Along with “Hello Little Girl,” the nascent Lennon and McCartney’s keenest Buddy Holly re-write ever …though we must admit Billy J. Kramer, as opposed to them Beatles, recorded the […]

  7. […] course it was none other than Buddy Holly and his Crickets which gave all of England not only a musical, but a visual blueprint upon which to launch The […]

  8. […] kind of good guitar rock that won’t ever stop a’rolling. And as you’ve heard me rave on about so many times before, Buddy’s Crickets (alongside producer-and-then-some Norman Petty) truly were creating The Sixties […]

  9. […] back when the roll was still part of rock. Would I be in the ballpark then to say I hear echoes of Buddy Holly and, in particular, Chuck Berry on your […]

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