I became a fan of Buddy Holly thanks to Gary Busey. Like most of the late, late Baby Boomers (or early, early Gen X’ers) I missed the genesis of rock and roll, including Buddy Holly. Now I know that many of the bands I eventually fell in love with were influenced by Buddy, but radio had stopped playing his music by the time I was old enough to hear it.
Then, in 1978, Gary Busey starred in The Buddy Holly Story.
I was blown away by the music and needed to dig a little deeper. The album Buddy Holly/The Crickets – 20 Golden Greats came out that same year… perfect timing.
I bought this LP and, as was the custom, recorded it to cassette, put it back in its sleeve and never took it out again… for 35 years, until this morning! When you listen to as many scratchy thrift store heroes as I do you forget just what a truly mint record sounds like! The needle goes down, plop! and then… nothing! A song plays, fades and, again, nothing! On this recording you could even hear a bit of a “hiss” after a song would fade out… the sound of whatever master tape they were using, that would then fade to dead silence… beautiful!
Since Buddy only recorded around 30 songs in the studio, this 20 song compilation gives a good overview of both his Clovis, NM. recordings and his NYC recordings, and, since my odds of finding a mint copy of an original Buddy Holly record range from slim to none, these 20 Golden Greats will have to suffice.
Here are some photos I took when I visited Clear Lake, Iowa… the site of Buddy’s last concert. There is an informal memorial there to Buddy, Richie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. There is also a separate memorial to the plane’s pilot nearby.