The Day The Music Died: Buddy Holly Remembered

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Dylan, Lennon, Clapton weigh in on Buddy Holly.

As any rock historian can tell you, today is the day the music died. That’s how Don McClean put it in his immortal song “American Pie,” singing about the day Buddy Holly, then 22, died in a plane crash in Fargo, North Dakota alongside Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.

Holly is famous for enduring hits like “Rave On,” “Not Fade Away,”  “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Oh Boy!” and “Everyday.”

The NME has compiled a number of quotes about Holly from his contemporaries.

Here’s what his peers had to say:

Bob Dylan

“When I was 16 or 17, I went to see Buddy Holly play and I was three feet away from him… and he LOOKED at me… Buddy Holly was a poet – way ahead of his time.”

Paul McCartney

“At least the first 40 songs we (the Beatles) wrote were Buddy Holly-influenced.”

Bruce Springsteen

“I play Buddy Holly every night before going onstage. It keeps me honest.”

John Lennon

“He made it OK to wear glasses. I was Buddy Holly.”

Mick Jagger

“You could learn from Buddy Holly how to write songs, the way he put them together. He was a beautiful writer.”

Elton John

“I only needed specs for reading, but as a result of wearing them all the time to try to look like Buddy Holly I became genuinely nearsighted.”

Keith Richards

“By about 1958, it was either Elvis or Buddy Holly. It was split into two camps. The Elvis fans were the heavy leather boys and the Buddy Holly ones all somehow looked like him.”

Eric Clapton

“Of all the music heroes of the time, Buddy Holly was the most accessible, and he was the real thing… He was one of us.”


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