Earlier this month (September 7th) would’ve been Buddy Holly’s 74th birthday. Despite his short life and career, his music influenced many different artists. The following is just a small sampling of Holly’s admirers.
The Everly Brothers started performing “That’ll Be the Day” only several years after it was released as a single by Buddy’s backing band the Crickets.
It has been said that the Beatles got the inspiration for their name from Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and they frequently covered his songs during their early gigs. Their version of “Words of Love” appears on Beatles for Sale.
Later on, former Beatle John Lennon covered “Peggy Sue” on his Rock N Roll album.
Paul McCartney currently owns the publishing rights to most of Holly’s catalogue, and he instituted a “Buddy Holly Week” in England. He has covered several of Holly’s hits, and even produced a documentary entitled The Real Buddy Holly Story after seeing the inaccurate 1978 biopic, The Buddy Holly Story.
The Grateful Dead performed “Not Fade Away” an estimated 530 times in concert and put their renditions of it on eight different albums in the course of their touring career.
The Rolling Stones were also fond of “Not Fade Away", releasing their version of it as a single early on in their career.
In the '80s, John Cougar Mellencamp’s take on “Rave On” was on the movie soundtrack for Cocktail.
Several female artists have also put their own spin on Holly’s hits, most notably Linda Ronstadt’s successful 1977 rendering of “It’s So Easy”.
Less than a decade ago, 1950’s hit maker Connie Francis did an entire album of Holly covers entitled With Love to Buddy. Here is her take on “Maybe Baby”.
Many different artists have also referenced Holly himself in their work. A modern example of this is the 1995 Weezer hit, “Buddy Holly”.
Best known as one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, Drake Bell often sports Holly-style glasses and mentioned the star in his 2005 solo album track, “Fallen for You”.
Country act the Dixie Chicks caused controversy in 2006 when they referred to Holly’s treatment by his hometown in “Lubbock Or Leave It”. Several residents came forth to say that unlike the song’s insinuations, Holly always had fans in Lubbock.
Unfortunately, no discussion of Holly’s life and influence is complete without mentioning the tragic plane crash that took his life on February 3, 1959. The most well known song that is said to be about that event is Don McLean’s “American Pie”.