Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Along came the Crickets

If you believe Don McLean, then this is was the day the music was born.

By 1957, Elvis had already gyrated himself into the American mainsteam and was enjoying his second No. 1 Billboard song "All Shook Up.'' That single, also No. 1 in Britain, was followed on the charts the Diamonds' "Little Darlin' '' and Buddy Knox's "Party Doll.''

The future of rock 'n' roll was already secure -- and it was about to get another electrifying jolt. On this day in '57, the Bruswick label released a 45 RPM as catalog #55009. It was a song that had been recorded a year earlier for Decca but was never released, and it would catapult Buddy Holly and the Crickets to stardom.

Nearly four months later, on September 23, "That'll Be the Day'' topped the American charts and the Crickets -- who had considered Grasshoppers and Beetles for their insect nickname -- and Holly were household names.

It would be the first song John Lennon learned to play on a guitar, and it would influence dozens and dozens of other major artists, from Bob Dylan and John Denver to Elton John and Elvis Costello.

Barely 17 months after the song hit No. 1, as McLean would sadly remind us with "American Pie," the music died when Holly's chartered plane crashed into Albert Juhl's frozen cornfield near Ames, Iowa.

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

1 comment:

  1. The word "tragedy" is used way too often but in this case it is apt. Think of all the great songs Buddy Holly would have written. Not to mention the Big Bopper ...