Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That'll Be The Day When I Die

Today is the 50th(!) anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, or "The Day The Music Died." Many have wondered how such an unassuming kid from Lubbock, TX could make music that could inspire the likes of The Beatles and The Stones. 

The answer is simple: Holly made music the right way. His songs were simple, but filled with inventive melodies and rhythms. His odd sense of style served notice that he was no fashion plate singer. And he never strayed from the guitar-bass-drum format that is the heart of all good rock music.

It's hard to know what we lost with him. Maybe he would have turned to drugs, added a sitar to the Crickets' sound, made records filled with 20 minute "jams." That could have happened. 

But, I'll bet he would have ended up closer to a career like Chuck Berry's: a fixture on the Oldies circuit, a great guitarist welcome on anybody's stage, and still able to raise the roof whenever he liked. Holly would have been just 38 years old when The Ramones (inadvertent geniuses like Holly) arrived. I think he would have been right there to welcome them and their successors.

The guitar solo from "That'll Be The Day" was one of the first things I learned to play on the guitar. I've played that solo almost every day since then. so I think I'll play it now. And, if you are going to listen to anything today, don't listen to Don McLean. Listen to Buddy's actual songs and think of all the music that we missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment