The Texas Historian, Volume 49, Number 1, September 1988 Page: 7
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KDAV, a country music radio station in Lubbock.
Living in Lubbock, which was a conservative,
small town during the 1950s, greatly influenced
Holly. Being basically isolated from the popula-
tion centers of Texas, people living in Lubbock
had to make their own entertainment. This Hol-
ly did with his music. Also, Lubbock, being an
agricultural town with few industries, offered few
career opportunities for a young man just out of
high school. According to Buddy's brother Larry,
once you left high school, a young man had but
three career options: he could become a farmer,
go to college, or go into music. Since Holly was
already involved in music, he chose the last nam-
In Lubbock in the 1950s country music was the
accepted norm for rock music was still too new
and many people were prejudiced against it.
Therefore, Holly, who preferred rock music,
decided to modify his music by combing rock
sounds with country music. This mergering of the
two sounds made Holly's beloved rock music more
acceptable to the country music fans of West
Holly was first discovered by a Nashville talent
agent when he and Montgomery were the open-
ing act at a rock show in Lubbock featuring Bill
Haley and the Comets. The agent helped Holly
sign a record deal with Decca Records. Holly went
on to Nashville where he recorded "Love Me," and
"Blue Days, Black Nights." Neither song sold well.
For a time Holly, Sonny Curtis, and Don Guess
formed a back-up group known as the Three
Tunes. They were not very successful either.
In 1957, Holly formed a second back-up group,
The Crickets. The original group included Hol-
ly, Jerry Allison, Niki Sullivan, and Larry
Welborn. After making their first recording,
Welborn left the group and was replaced by Joe
Mauldin. Sullivan left at the end of 1957 and was
replaced by Tommy Allsup in mid-1958.
On July 22, 1956, Holly recorded a song for
Decca inspired by The Searchers, a movie star-
ing John Wayne. In the movie, whenever the John
Wayne character became upset about something,
he would use the phrase, That'll Be the Day. Ap-
parently, Holly liked the phrase because the next
song he recorded was entitled "That'll Be the
Day." Unfortunately, the executives at Decca did
not like the song and they refused to release the
Buddy Holly's grave which is located in the Lub-
bock city cemetery.
A promotional photo of Buddy Holly circa 1958.
All photographs courtesy of author.
record. In January of 1957, after his contract with
Decca had expired, Holly went to Norman Pet-
ty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, and made a
demonstration record of "That'll Be the Day."
After sending the tape to several recording com-
panies, Bob Thiele at Coral/Brunswick records,
a division of Decca, heard the record, liked it, and
signed Holly. Thiele, however, had to release the
song under the name of The Crickets because Dec-
ca still owned the rights to "That'll Be the Day"
by Buddy Holly. The song was, of course, a smash
hit selling more than one million records. It
became number one in the United States and
stayed on the best seller list for twenty-one weeks.
In 1958 Holly recorded several other hits:
"Peggy Sue," "Rave On," and "Early in the Mor-
ning;" while The Crickets recorded "Oh Boy!" "It's
so Easy," and "Maybe Baby." Not surprisingly,
both Buddy Holly and The Crickets were in great
demand and made several television appearances.
They also made a coast-to-coast tour and later that
year toured Australia and England.
In the summer of 1958, while in New York,
Holly went to see Peer-Southern, his publishers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Texas Historian, Volume 49, Number 1, September 1988, periodical, September 1988; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth391487/m1/9/: accessed October 21, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.