Peggy Sue, That’ll Be the Day, Oh Boy — the list of hit songs penned by Buddy Holly goes on and on.
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story highlights the pure talent and the incredible passion in his songs. This high-energy musical is showing at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay on Nov. 19.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, on Sept. 7, 1936, Charles Hardin Holley, known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll.
He was initially influenced by bluegrass music but when Holly saw Elvis Presley sing in Lubbock in 1955, he began to incorporate his rockabilly style in his music.
Holly’s Sunday broadcasts at a local radio station made him a top local act and later, when he became an opening act for Elvis himself, he caught the eye of a Nashville talent scout. Holly’s transition to rock continued when he later formed his own band called the Crickets.
Holly set the template for the standard rock and roll band: two guitars, bass, and drums. Not only did he start his own label called, Prism, he was also one of the first in this genre to write, produce, and perform his own songs.
Holly managed to bridge the racial divide that marked music in America. Along with Elvis and others, Holly made rock and roll, with its roots in rockabilly country music and blues-inspired rhythm and blues music, much more popular among a broad white audience.
Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death, he was at the top of the billboards with the release of three original albums in a short period of time.
Holly is described by prolific journalist and critic Bruce Eder as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.” His works and innovations inspired and influenced contemporary and later musicians, notably the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and exerted a profound influence on popular music.
Holly was among the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly 13th among The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time. On Sept. 7, 2011 (which would have been his 75th birthday), he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Buddy’s life was like a meteor: rising quickly, burning brightly and gone too soon. The Buddy Holly Story is a brief snippet in time between January 1956 when Buddy was a young singer trying to find his way in a dominant country music scene and his untimely death in an airplane crash on Feb. 2, 1959.
This musical enjoyed a 13-year run after its original 1989 opening in London’s West End. It’s been viewed by more than 20 million people in over 17,000 performances worldwide. Sixty-one shows have been sold out around the province due to rave reviews.
Vibrant and celebratory, it’s high on the list of must-sees for anyone who loves to rock and roll, and promises to thrill audiences long after they dance out of the theatre.
The Buddy Holly Story (sponsored by The Lounge 99.9FM) will be presented Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Williams.
Tickets are: regular $55, members $50 and students $30. Doors open at 6:30.
For tickets, call 250-338-2430 or buy online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com.
For more information about the performance, visit www.artsclub.com/20092010/plays/buddy.htm.
— Sid Williams Theatre