Well … All Right: Buddy’s 75th Birthday Roundup

Charles Hardin Holley was born on September 7, 1936, meaning that this Wednesday, the man we came to know as Buddy Holly would have been 75 years old. I like to think there is some universe where Buddy is still making music. But in this universe, we will have to make due with the great music he left us when he died in 1959 at the young age of 22 on a flight from Mason City, Iowa to Moorhead, Minnesota.

Around the web there are a number of stories celebrating the 75th birthday of the rock pioneer from Lubbock, Texas. Check out the links below (if you want an image of Buddy to guide you while you read this website, click this link).

Tribute CDs: Because it is all about the music, the best place to start may be this Rolling Stone link that is offering a free stream of the forthcoming tribute CD, Listen to Me: Buddy Holly (2011). The free steam is only up for a limited time, so now is the time to check out the CD, featuring Stevie Nicks, The Fray, Ringo Starr, and others. Chris Isaak’s version of “Crying Waiting Hoping” is a highlight, but I do not get the point of Eric Idle’s Monty Python-esque reading of “Raining in My Heart.” USA Today has a review of the CD. While the CD has some nice covers, nothing comes close to the originals, of course. Another tribute CD, Rave On Buddy Holly, was out earlier this year, and is reviewed by The Aquarian Weekly. I am a fan of a previous tribute CD, Not Fade Away (1996), featuring The Band, Nanci Griffith, Joe Ely, and the Mavericks. That CD features a haunting “Learning the Game” from Holly’s bassist Waylon Jennings.

Walk of Fame: KCBD notes that the birthday celebration includes a new star on the Walk of Fame. Lubbock Online explains how the star event has turned into an overdue celebration.

Buddy Holly’s Widow: Holly’s widow, Maria Elena Santiago-Holly, talks to Rolling Stone about the tributes. But Amarillo.com explains why Holly’s widow is trying to stop a tribute concert by a Buddy Holly impersonator.

Holly’s Relevance: In Holly’s hometown, Lubbock Online ponders why Holly is still relevant more than fifty years after his death. Similarly, the Houston Chronicle lists several reasons Buddy Holly still has a hold on us at 75.

Gary Busey as Holly: TMZ posted a video of Gary Busey, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his outstanding portrayal of Holly in The Buddy Holly Story (1978). In the video, Busey made a recent karaoke attempt to reprise his Holly-style singing on “Maybe Baby” (not for the faint of heart).

Life & Career: In “Buddy Holly’s 75th on Wednesday; That’ll Be the Day,” the Los Angeles Times talks to some who remember Holly and discusses the new tribute CDs. Similarly, Cybergrass recounts Holly’s career and discusses the new CD.

Odd Tributes to Holly’s Glasses: Finally, for two odd Holly-related photos that were recently posted: First, the Silver Lining Opticians Blog features a photo of Holly to promote a style of spectacles (or you may see how you would look in Holly’s glasses at buddyholly.me). Second, NewMexicoBoxing.com has a photo of boxer Eric Henson, who is nicknamed “Buddy Holly.” You will be able to guess why from the photo.

Somewhat surprisingly, as the day approaches, there is not as much written about Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday on the web as one might expect. Much of of the news about Holly is related to the new tribute CD. Perhaps because he died so long ago, fewer people connect to him the way we connect to anniversaries regarding John Lennon or Elvis Presley. Oh well, maybe there is not much new to say as long as we have the music.

“Now, no matter what you think about rock and roll,” check out this clip of Holly singing “Peggy Sue” on The Arthur Murray Dance Party from December 29, 1957, with an introduction that reminds us that Buddy Holly and rock music was on the cutting edge of the times. Thus, he rightfully was among the initial class of ten performer inductees when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame began in 1986. Buddy, hope you are having a great birthday in your universe.

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  • “Peggy Sue Got Married”: The Record That Buddy Holly Never Heard
  • Watch One of R.E.M.’s First Shows
  • The Day the Music Died & American Pie
  • Billy Grammer and Buddy Holly’s Opening Song, “Gotta Travel On”
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