Buddy Holly – “Oh Boy”
Buddy Holly is a legend. He’s a legend in one of the most stereotypical ways – he was incredibly gifted and energetic, in a burgeoning field, made a stratospheric ascent into the public consciousness, and died very young, at the very top of the field he pioneered.
There is no way to understate the influence Buddy Holly had on popular music, and in particular, rock’n’roll. Not in the least was the fact that some young lads in Liverpool fell in love with his music. The name the band eventually took – the Beatles – was a play off Buddy Holly’s band, the Crickets. Not only did the Beatles cover a number of Buddy Holly songs in the early days of the band, but it seems they even emulated the way he held the guitar. Holly had perfected a persona; he looked every bit the “square”, the tall, skinny guy with the glasses and 1950s haircut, but once he started playing, well, “Oh Boy!”
One can always speculate what Holly would have done had he lived. Certainly, as it did with the Beatles (and even Elvis), his look and the style of the music would have evolved. But, as it sometimes happens, that didn’t happen. This past week marked the 60th anniversary of the plane accident that took Buddy Holly’s life, along with the lives of three other very young men. As a result, Buddy Holly, in memory, is frozen in time as the geeky 22-year-old musical genius.
Had Holly even walked this earth for double the days that were given him, we still would be saying that his days were too short. It’s a weird place in time to be to realize that Don McLean’s amazing tribute song to Holly, “American Pie”, a smash hit in its own right, was a hit many years before my birth, and he was marking, already, a decade since Holly’s passing. As such, in my mind, Holly was always someone who lived and died “long, long ago”. That being said, this past week I found out that a man at a church that I once attended died. He was 85, very musical, and one of those people who was always a ray of sunshine to the people he encountered, and so, seemed a good bit younger. I was actually shocked to learn he was 85. Yet, it boggles the mind that Buddy Holly, had he lived, would still be younger than this man.
In the end though, death comes for us all, whether sooner or later. Our mission, then, as always, is to make the most of the time we have here, while preparing our souls for the next life. We never, ever know when we’ll be called from this life into the next. Still, we live in the hope and the certainty that there is the life to come.