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Remembering Buddy Holly: 65 Years Later

01 Feb 2024

On February 3rd 1959, a small aircraft carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson crashed shortly after takeoff, tragically taking the lives of all on board. All three musicians were travelling to Fargo, North Dakota, for the next show on their Winter Dance Party Tour. After consistent bus breakdowns in freezing conditions throughout the run, Holly made the fateful decision to hire a plane to allow himself time to rest before the next gig. A week later, Holly was buried in Lubbock, Texas, with his headstone reading 'Holley' (the correct spelling of his given surname) alongside a picture of his guitar.
'I would daydream to his music and, later, mourn his death... My love of Buddy Holly was there from the beginning and it never wavered.' - Don McLean
Coined as 'The Day that Music Died' by Don McLean in his famous 1971 song, his strength of feeling about that awful day mirrored the sentiment of a generation. In his short life of 22 years, Holly made a profound impact on the world of music and early rock'n'roll, a legacy that remains meaningful 65 years after his untimely passing.
As many of our subscribers will know, Genesis is publishing Words of Love, a book that documents the incredible legacy of Buddy Holly in partnership with Marķa Elena Holly, Holly's widow, and the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. In the process of putting this edition together we have been struck by the number of musicians who cite Buddy Holly as a central influence on their own incredible careers: Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Emmylou Harris, Brian May, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend... the list goes on. They talk about his distinctive voice, his songwriting and infectious melodies, his inventive guitar playing, the live performances, and his pioneering recording methods. Quite simply, so much music would not have existed without him.  

'Rock-A-Bye-Rock displays all of Buddy's rock'n'roll prowess on the Strat. I'm honoured to carry the tradition on...' - Ronnie Wood
'I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on. It keeps me honest.' - Bruce Springsteen
So today we mark and celebrate Buddy Holly's short, but extraordinary life and his lasting legacy.

Please note: The Words of Love Luthier copies became fully subscribed this week, and we wanted to let you know that the Artluxe copies will be fully subscribed soon too. With fewer than 20 remaining available to pre-order, secure your copy today at
Words of Love

Words of Love

Buddy Holly


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