Buddy Holly

The reason why this is appearing at OoL does not become apparent until near the end. *It’s a strange post.  It started out as a look at Buddy Holly as a singer and here are the original opening words:

Really love this clip – the girls behind look like debutantes and are dying to dance to it:

At that point, I stumbled on these clips [text continues below them]:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

For those who couldn’t be bothered going through those, it went through his last day and analysed it from the point of view of a denier.  That is, it attempted to debunk any and all suggestions about what led up to and what happened that night.  Were there any? Every minute or so, someone is coming out with, ‘Someone said the revolver found a couple of months later was significant, I refuse to believe that, it’s all theory,’ or similar.

Here we go again

Eh? Who said anything about a revolver?  My understanding was that the night was freezing and there was an incoming blizzard, Holly went up in the air despite all the warnings and they crashed.  That’s how it had always come down to me.

Groan – it looks very much like we’re back in old familiar territory – the filmmakers trotting out gum chewing, drawling southern officials and good ole boys after gum chewing, drawling southern officials and good ole boys and all of them are being ultra-defensive. ‘Y’know, people say that UVW but that’s rubbish.  Nothing like that happened at all.  It was clearly XYZ.’

Eh [again]?  I wasn’t saying anything, I was just looking at the last day of three singers.  Why, were there there any anomalies in it, other than why he’d be silly enough to fly in that weather?

Well, apparently yes, plenty of them and so here we go again – same old deniers, same old wild claimers, nowadays called truthers and you know, the way it always seems to go this way on any issue whatever – that in itself makes me suspicious.

Why can’t an issue for once be just crystal clear – ABC – everyone agrees, end of the matter, move on, nothing to see here?

OK, what’s my default position, before we even begin?  It’s that the good ole boys and modern debunkers are no more rationalist than some of the theorists – in fact, they are incredibly narrowminded and in denial [Randi?], refusing to look dispassionately at the actual snippets as they’re laid upon the table.  

And the theorists?  Well, by definition, someone puts forth a theory, he’s seen some snippet and is theorizing on the basis of it – it’s how science advances in the world.

Someone suggests the world is not flat but might be round and he’s laughed to scorn.  There’s a friend of mine has a website by that name – They Laughed at Noah.  So yes, most of the theories are way out there but then there is a third space in the middle.  

That space says that there is always a cascade of events, mostly rational but sometimes one wonders. That was my position as I went into this.  Not that the truth is out there but that the truth is IN there, somewhere inside the known snippets.

And unlike some people, once this thing gets really weird, I don’t auto-dismiss it but want to explore further.  Hell, it might have been anything – bad blood between people, jealousies, everyone getting ill, leading to rash decisions, someone with a grudge, someone who determined these three were never going to see the dawn, other people having a feud and Holly caught up in it.

It could have been anything.

I mean, it could have easily been something between the young pilot and the owner of the firm – young man discovers older man is into something nasty, embezzling, satanic rites, whatever, and has to die. Holly and friends are just collateral.  And just as the good ole boys will say there you are – all theory and speculation, I shoot back – well so is your auto-denial, no basis beyond that being what you wish to have believed.

Nutshell time

Holly had married, some bastard producer named Norman Petty was taking his and the Crickets’ royalties and putting them into his own a/c, you know the score, Holly is ambitious but also needs to pay for the child about to be born, insists wife stays at home, goes out on this madcap winter tour, they end up in this hotel near Clearwater, not scheduled but someone suggests they play the gig anyway, everyone a bit sick with the freezing bus on which the heating has broken, Holly, in frustration, wants to fly to the next point and meet the band there.  Two other places onboard.  Rest is history.

Winding back to before the event

An Angelfire site I’ll not link to because it crashed my new computer twice with the force spamming **, said these sorts of things:

1.  Shortly before embarking on the Winter Dance Party Tour, both Buddy Holly and his new wife, Maria Elena, were simultaneously disturbed by violent and eerily prophetic dreams. Maria Elena had dreamt of a fireball descending to earth in the middle of a field, followed by an explosion that left a great gaping hole in the ground. When she woke up Holly, he related that he had also just had a strange dream.

He dreamt that he, his wife, and his brother were in a plane. His brother persuaded Holly to leave Maria Elena on top of a building, with the intention of returning for her. Reportedly, Holly was wracked with guilt for having left her behind in the dream. Maria Elena was supposed to accompany her husband on the Winter Dance Party tour. He had convinced her to stay behind, because of her morning sickness.

2.  While Holly was touring England in 1958, he received an ominous message from Joe Meek, a British recording engineer and producer. On a night in January of that year, Meek had attended a tarot reading. The message delivered that night was “February third, Buddy Holly, dies.” Holly thanked Meek for the warning, but did not seem concerned since February the third had already passed. Buddy Holly would die on 3 February 1959, not 1958.

The Winter Dance Party was plagued with problems. The tour buses continually broke down, the heaters refused to work, and both The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens had taken ill. Holly’s drummer, Carl Bunch, had to leave the tour after he suffered severe frostbite on his feet. Holly’s last song, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” was released shortly before his death. After the fatal plane crash, Maria Elena Holly miscarried the only child of Buddy Holly.

We can throw into this mix, that Peggy Sue [subject of that song], the wife of one of the Crickets, claimed Holly was intending to leave Maria when he got back but everyone else denies it and says they were getting along fine. There is his thirst and ambition for fame, as with any other artist perhaps, how he begged Elvis to give him a bunk up the fame ladder, how he took his wife to New York because the scene there would advance his career, how she was a bit abrasive as a person.

There’s also that she refused to attend his funeral and has never been to his grave, that when a band member visited her the day of the funeral, she and her mother were packing to go east.

So what we have here is all the common, garden variety tensions and anomalies but with a few spiritual ones thrown in. for example, the people close to him who came within his sphere. The first logical ones were the two fellow musicians with him, then his wife who lost the baby next day.

1. Singer Eddie Cochran recorded “Three Stars,” in honor of the performers killed in the plane crash. Cochran (“Summertime Blues”) was supposed to have been on the Winter Party Dance tour. When he heard of the crash, Cochran felt as though he had cheated death, and was supposedly plagued by guilt and fear that death would soon come him.

On 17 April 1960, Cochran, his girlfriend, hit songwriter Sharon Sheeley (Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool,” Ritchie Valens’s “Hurry Up”), and singer Gene Vincent (“Be-Bop-A-Lula”) were on their way to London’s Heathrow Airport for a return flight to the U.S. On the way, the Ford Consul they were riding in blew a tire. Vincent re-injured the knee that had previously been hurt in a motorcycle accident. He would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

Sheeley suffered a broken neck and back. Cochran was thrown from the vehicle and rushed to St. Martin’s Hospital, where he was visited by the original Crickets (Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis and Joe B. Maudlin) who were touring in England at the time. He died the next day of massive head injuries. He was 22. The last single released by Cochran was “Three Steps to Heaven.” The Crickets were the backing band. (Vincent would die in 1971 of internal bleeding from a ruptured stomach ulcer; he was 36. Sadly, his family lacked sufficient funds and the city of Los Angeles had to bury him.)

2. Singer Ronnie Smith was hired to replace Buddy Holly for the remainder of the Winter Dance Party. He joined Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch. The band later recorded as the Jitters. (Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis and Joe B. Maudlin retained the rights to the name, the Crickets.) Ronnie Smith was committed to a state hospital in Texas for drug abuse. On 25 October 1962, he hanged himself in one of the bathrooms. He was approximately 24.

3. Cowboy Copas (Lloyd Estel Copas) was a chart-topping country singer with hits like “‘Tis Sweet to Be Remembered,” “Alabam” (number-one for three months), “Flat Top” and “Signed, Sealed and Delivered.” In 1956, Cowpas took part in a 14-date country & western tour in Little Rock, Arkansas. Also on the bill were Hank Thompson, George Jones, Wanda Jackson, and Buddy Holly & the Two-Tones (Sonny Curtis and Don Guess).

On 5 March 1963, Copas was returning from a benefit for the widow of “Cactus” Jack Call, a local disc jockey who died in a car crash. He was riding in a single-propeller Piper Comanche with fellow country musicians Hawkshaw Hawkins and Patsy Cline. Pilot Randy Hughes lost visibility around Camden, Tennessee and he hit some trees. The plane crashed in Fatty Bottom (70 miles west of Nashville). All onboard were killed. Cowpas was 49.

4. The original Crickets (Allison, Curtis, and Maudlin) also had their share of continuing tragedy. Seventeen-year-old David Box was brought on as their new singer (“Peggy Sue Got Married”). He recorded with the band for a few years before going solo. On 23 October 1964, Box was killed when the Cessna Skyhawk 172 he was riding in crashed. He was 22 – the same age as Holly was when he died.

Sure some of those were coincidences, I’m not suggesting otherwise, as the article seems to.  The following are included more as an account of the types of things which happened to those rock pioneers, rather than a some interconnection with Holly.

5.  Bobby Fuller admired and emulated Buddy Holly. He had given a demo tape to Holly’s parents, who forwarded it to Norman Petty, Holly’s former producer. The Bobby Fuller Four had a hit with”I Fought the Law,” which was penned by Sonny Curtis (of the original Crickets). The last song Fuller recorded was “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” which was written by Buddy Holly.

On 18 July 1966, Fuller’s body was found in his car at his house. He had been severely beaten, one of his right fingers was broken, and he was drenched in gasoline. Friends stated that Fuller had recently been harassed by local mobsters, possibly in connection with a woman. But the police judged his death a suicide. His death certificate states the causes of demise as asphyxia and inhalation of gasoline, ruled as an “accident.” Fuller was 23. For more information on the life and death of Bobby Fuller, visit The Archive’s Bobby Fuller Tribute.

6.  Joe Meek (Robert George Meek) was a pioneering record producer and songwriter. Meek’s works include The Tornados’ “Ridin’ the Wind” and “Telstar,” which was the first song by a British act to reach #1 on the US Hot 100. Meek suffered from bouts of rage, paranoia and depression which were exacerbated by his drug use. He became obsessed with Buddy Holly, whom Meek claimed visited him in dreams. On the eighth anniversary of Holly’s death (3 February 1967), Meek shot and killed his landlady before turning the single-barreled shotgun on himself. He was 37.

7.  Clyde McPhatter was the lead singer with The Drifters before going on to a successful solo career. McPhatters’s solo hits include “A Lover’s Question,” “Little Bitty Pretty One,” and “Lover Please.” In 1958, McPhatter participated in “The Biggest Show of Stars for 1958 — The Autumn Edition,” with Bobby Darin, Dion and the Belmonts, The Coasters – and Buddy Holly and the Crickets. In 1972, McPhatter succumbed to liver, kidney, and heart failure. He was just 38.

8.  In 1958, Buddy Holly recorded Bobby Darin’s song, “Early in the Morning.” Also that year, Bobby Darin participated in “The Biggest Show of Stars for 1958 — The Autumn Edition,” with Clyde McPhatter, Dion and the Belmonts, The Coasters – and Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Darin died in 1973 from complications of heart surgery which was needed to repair a faulty valve. He was 37. Five years earlier, Darin found out that his older sister was actually his mother; the woman he believed to be his mother was actually his grandmother.

9.  Phil Ochs was an anti-establishment folk singer, who used his songs to protest against the Vietnam War and to campaign for civil, student, and labor rights. The FBI maintained a file on the singer nearly 500 pages long. Ochs sang a tribute to Buddy Holly on his final album, Gunfight at Carnegie Hall (recorded in 1970; released in 1975). In 1973, Ochs was assaulted and almost killed. During the attack he was strangled which permanently damaged his vocal chords. Sunken into depression, he hanged himself in 1976 at the age of 36.

10.  In 1977, a film was made depicting Buddy Holly’s life and career. Gary Busey was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Holly, and the screenplay was written by Robert Gittler. After completing the film, Busey was involved in a nearly fatal motorcycle accident. Gittler committed suicide shortly before the film’s release.

It’s not over by a long shot:

11. The release of The Buddy Holly Story renewed interest in Holly’s life and music. On 16 September 1977, T-Rex (“Bang a Gong (Get It On),” “Hot Love”) founder Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash. Reportedly found among the debris was a pin that said “Every day is a Holly day.” Bolan was 29.

12. Another “casualty” of The Buddy Holly Story: On 6 September 1978, Keith Moon, eccentric drummer for The Who, previewed The Buddy Holly Story and dined with his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, and Paul and Linda McCartney. Moon and Walter-Lax returned to a flat owned by Harry Nilsson – the same flat at 12 Curzon Place, London, where “Mama” Cass Elliot had died four years earlier.

Moon supposedly woke up at 7:30 on the morning of the seventh, and returned to bed. At 3:40 pm, Walter-Lax tried to wake him, but he was unresponsive. At some point during the previous night or that morning, he had ingested 32 tablets of Clomethiazole (Heminevrin), a sedative prescribed for alcohol withdrawal. Keith Moon was dead of a prescription drug overdose. (The Who’s bassist, John Entwistle, would die from a heart attack brought on by cocaine use in 2002. Entwistle was 57.)

At this point, like you, my thought was that some of these were a bit far-fetched, though curious all the same.  And yes, I admit they’re interesting to read about as a good story or film material.  There really was something about those days – JFK, MK Ultra, these were the days when the entertainement industry was infiltrated.  Probably McCarthy was a bit wide of the mark in putting it down just to communism – some have written that it was the influence of this cabal or type of ruling class behind the scenes and that Hollywood was very much as its other name suggests – a new Babylon.

And speaking politically now, rather than global conspiracist or metaphysically, it’s logical that a medium which reaches into every home is one you’d like to have control over.  That just stands to reason.  Also, those were the days of the manufactured groups and singers.  They’d burn for a while and then die out.  Some of the units which began to malfunction were snuffed out – plied with drugs etc.

Marilyn is the most classic case.  With all she knew from her lovers, she was a prime target.  Jane Mansfield.  I think the minimum which could be said was that those were volatile days.  This was also the time of the Manchurian Candidate, with Frank Sinatra.  Kennedy was onboard with that film.

Let’s have a few more.

14.  Johnny O’Keefe was the Australian King of Rock & Roll, and the first Australian to chart, with the hit, “I’m The Wild One.” He appeared on the Lee Gordon Tour in 1958 with Buddy Holly. In June 1960, O’Keefe crashed his Plymouth Belvedere, suffering severe head and facial lacerations and a concussion. In 1961 and ’62 he was admitted to the hospital for what became a continuing cycle of nervous breakdowns. In 1978, he suffered a fatal heart attack caused by an accidental overdose of prescription medication. He was 43.

15.  The Beatles were fans of Buddy Holly’s. Their name was a play on the Crickets. It is rumored that Buddy Holly originally wanted to name the Crickets the Beetles. The Fab Four recorded Holly’s “Words of Love” and “That’ll Be the Day.” On 8 Decemeber 1980, John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were returning home to the Dakota Apartments in New York City when deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, shot the ex-Beatle to death. Lennon was 40. While still with The Beatles, Lennon was asked how he expected to die. He lightly answered: “I’ll probably be popped off by some loony.”

16.  Bill Haley had two of Rock & Roll’s earliest hits, with “Rocket 88” and “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.” In 1955, Buddy Holly (with Bob Montgomery and Larry Welborn) opens for Bill Haley and the Comets in Lubbock. In 1981, Bill Haley suffers a fatal heart attack at the age of 55.

17.  Bill Pickering not only knew and worked with Holly, but he also sang at his funeral and had contact with Holly’s widow 25 years after Holly’s death. Pickering was a DJ – the first to play Buddy Holly’s solo effort, “Blue Days, Black Nights”. Pickering and his group, The Pickering Brothers (“The Picks”), eventually met the musician and were overdubbed on several Holly classics, including “Oh, Boy!” and “Maybe Baby.” When Holly died in 1959, Bill Pickering sang at his funeral.

The Picks disbanded, reuniting in 1969. Unfortunately, the group was sidelined in 1974; Bill Pickering suffered his first stroke, rendering him blind for nearly two years. He recorded once more, ten years later, again overdubbing on Holly tracks. He was motivated by Maria Elena Santiago, Holly’s widow, when she related how Holly had wanted to work with The Picks again. The overdubs were Pickering’s last foray into music. In January 1985, he sufferd another, this time fatal, aneurysm. He died at the age of 58. In Lubbock, Texas. Hometown of one Charles Hardin (“Buddy”) Holley.

18.  Ricky Nelson (“Hello Mary Lou,” “Travelin’ Man”) had once met Buddy Holly. (Nelson’s hit, “Poor Little Fool” was written by Sharon Sheeley, Eddie Cochran’s girlfriend who was involved in the car crash that took Cochran’s life.) Supposedly Nelson’s last recording was Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways.” On 30 December 1985, Nelson finished performing in Guntersville, Alabama. He had played Holly’s “Rave On” as his encore, and his last words to the audience were, “Rave on for me!”

The next morning, he boarded his reconditioned DC-3, which was previously owned by fellow rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, and made an emergency landing after the pilot detected smoke in the cockpit. All survived the landing, but the craft then burst into flames, killing Nelson, his fiancee, and his band (the pilot and co-pilot survived). He was 45. Read the National Transportation Safety Board Report.

19.  On February 3, 1990, the thirty-first anniversary of Buddy Holly’s fatal crash, Del Shannon (“Runaway,” “Hats Off to Larry”) performed at the Surf Ballroom Clear Lake, Iowa (the location of Holly’s last performance). The Crickets acted as Shannon’s backing band. Five days later, Shannon shot himself with a .22 calibre rifle. He was 55.

20.  Marriott was the guitarist and singer for The Small Faces (“Itchycoo Park,” “Tin Soldier”) and later, Humble Pie (“Black Coffee,” “Shine On”). The song, “Heartbeat,” was originally recorded by Buddy Holly in 1958. Holly’s version reached number 30 on the UK Singles Chart twice; in January 1959, and in 1960 as a re-issue. (It also charted, although not significantly, on the Billboard Hot 100.) Marriott was a big Holly fan and cited the artist as a musical influence. In 1969, Humble Pie released their album, Town and Country, which contained a cover of “Heartbeat.”

On 19 April 1991, ater a return flight from the United States, Marriott had dinner with his wife at a friend’s house, but returned home alone in the early morning. Valium, cocaine and alcohol were in his system. According to investigators, Marriott fell asleep with a lit cigarette. He was found on the floor next to his bed, dead from smoke inhalation. Marriott was 44.

21.  Nirvana’s break-through album, Nevermind, included the single “In Bloom.” The video for the song, shot in black and white, shows the group dressed like early rock heartthrobs performing on a variety show (similar to The Ed Sullivan Show.) The host (Doug Llewelyn) describes the band as “thoroughly all right and decent fellas.”

Cobain sports thick, black framed glasses, and a sports jacket and slacks, clearly in imitation of Buddy Holly. The chronically depressed Cobain explained that the uncharacteristically light-hearted tone of the video was result of him being “so tired for the last year of people taking us so seriously . . . I wanted to fuck off and show them that we have a humorous side to us.”

The video won Best Alternative Video at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, on 8 April 1994, Kurt Cobain’s body was found in a room above his garage, a shotgun pointed at his head. He had been missing for several days and it was determined that he had taken his own life three days prior to his body being discovered, by an electrician.

22.  As stated in John Lennon’s entry, The Beatles were fans of Buddy Holly’s. Their name was a play on the Crickets and it is rumored that Buddy Holly originally wanted to name the Crickets the Beetles. The Fab Four recorded Holly’s “Words of Love” and “That’ll Be the Day.” In 1999, an obsessed fan broke into the house of Beatle, George Harrison, stabbing him in the chest. This despite the fact that Harrison’s estate boasted a particularly tight security network. Harrison survived, but succumbed to cancer two years later (2001). He was 58.

23.  Michael Welsh was the bassist for Weezer from 1998 until 2001. Weezer gained notoriety with their triple-platinum (US) debut album, 1994’s Weezer (The Blue Album). Among the hits it produced was the chart-topping, “Buddy Holly.” Welsh left the band because of a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide that same year. In 2011, he was found dead in a hotel room. He was 40.

Sorry to bring Agatha Christie in here but one of her devices was that there was a trail of destruction or just anomalies following someone around, which led to that person having the curse on them.  What it actually was though was something a bit more sinister – a planned series of events by someone else.  The accused was just the talisman or catalyst, the gatherer of stories about something else actually going on.

That’s how I’m thinking about all these Malfunctioning Units [musician].  What if those ‘producers’ are more like minders?  What if their total control, even the studio system in Hollywood and the casting couch of budding starlets, along with Manson in the background, which itself comes back to John Phillips [Mamas and the Papas, Woodstock] and one of those starlets, Sharon Tate, which gets back to Polanski and his behaviour, along with the Franklin coverup – what if all of those were just manifestations of a system going on which the Birch Society was attacking but couldn’t see beyond Reds Under Beds?

What if Obama is about far more than just an incompetent president?  The constant Babylonian reference with him is interesting. What if he’s a nobody and is just being used by that eternal system over there?

For what purpose?  Control as an end.  Why all the surveillance and data hacking, data control going on at official level?  Control for the sake of control.  Why do totalitarian regimes have to have so many dossiers?  Bureaucratic and total control of people’s lives.

*  And that’s why this was posted at OoL.  The brief of OoL is to call out for freedom, individually and as a society – it’s in the url.  These last paragraphs here are about that.  What if this attempt at control of our lives, our minds, our behaviour, our being fodder for Blair’s wars, is insidious and the whistleblowers and dissidents are for the lobotomy?  What if the Man really does exist?

What then?

And one last thing – look at Holly’s lyrics – many of his songs, despite his innocent, almost amateurish projected persona, are about themes which leave you cold emotionally, at odds with the feelgood which the music itself conveys:

** I’ve just now gone back to the original article on the other computer and it really is a spam attractor. Can’t find an author’s name anywhere to attribute to, only that it is an Angelfire site.


2 comments for “Buddy Holly

  1. meltemian
    October 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    O tempora, O mores. Although there do seem to be a lot of coincidences I would hazard a guess it was mostly down to the drink & drug culture in the music business.
    In the words of Kristofferson:-
    “He’s a poet, an’ he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, an’ he’s a pusher
    He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned
    He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction
    Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.”

    • October 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Yes but that doesn’t fully explain how they were allowed to fly that night with that particular pilot.

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