Buddy Holly lived only 22 short years but his music has lived on to inspire generations of rock and pop musicians.
Such is the pull of Buddy’s iconic songs, such as That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy and Rave On, that 55 years after his death fans are still packing theatres to see Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, the long-running stage musical based on his life story.
The production, which this year is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its West End premiere, has been seen by more than 22 million people around the world. It is coming to Bradford’s Alhambra from Monday, July 7, to Saturday, July 12.
Buddy Holly’s career spanned just 18 months, but in that time he revolutionised the music scene.
The hit musical traces his meteoric rise to fame up to his final performance at the Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake, Iowa, and also features songs by the two musicians who died with him in the light aircraft crash on the fateful day, February 3, 1959. It was, as Don McLean later wrote in a song called American Pie, ‘The Day the Music Died’.
Alongside Buddy in the plane were Jiles P Richardson, known as Big Bopper (Chantilly Lace), and the 17-year-old Ritchie Valens (La Bamba).
The three of them were travelling in a plane chartered by Buddy because they’d made an unscheduled stop-off in Clear Lake and he didn’t want to continue on to the next stage in the tour by bus.
Buddy, the musical, offers two non-stop hours of music and has two singers taking the title role, Glen Joseph and Yorkshire-born Roger Rowley. Such is its lasting popularity that the production company estimates its trucks, used to transport the show from venue to venue, have now travelled nearly six times round the world.
Tickets for the show are from £15 to £27.50, from the box office on 01274 432000 or www.bradford-theatres.co.uk There is a captioned performance on Friday, July 11, and an audio-described performance on Saturday, July 12, at 2.30pm.
Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley and changed his name to Holly after a mispelling on his contract. His mother gave him the nickname Buddy when he was small.
Buddy wrote and recorded his breakthrough hit, That’ll Be the Day, with The Crickets in 1957. The song’s title and refrain are a reference to a line uttered by John Wayne in the 1956 film The Searchers. Buddy proposed on his first date with Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist four years his senior, and married her less than two months later in 1958. Maria Elena did not attend Holly’s funeral, as she had also just suffered a miscarriage. She still owns the rights to Buddy Holly’s name, image, trademarks and other intellectual property.
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