On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX

Buddy Holly and The Crickets

Drummer's house where the band practiced

Statue of Buddy Holly in front of Texas Wall of Fame

favorite restaurant


outside the building with VIP's

Ken showing me around

Recording studio


On my way to Santa Rosa I made stops in Lubbock, Texas and Clovis, New Mexico to trace the Buddy Holly Story. The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock has a wonderful collection of memorabilia - no photos allowed. The drummer's house was where he and The Crickets practiced - it is SO small. The first big hit that the group had was "That'll Be The Day". Buddy wrote it after he and a friend were watching The Searchers. John Wayne said "that'll be the day' several times in the movie and one day, when Buddy told his friends that they should write their own songs, one of them said "that'll be the day". Buddy wrote the song and the rest is history.

Paul McCartney said that at least the first forty songs the Beetles wrote were influenced by Buddy Holly. Elton John wore unnecessary eyeglasses to be more like Buddy. He has even donated a pair to the Center.

On February 2, 1959 Buddy was on tour. He, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper boarded a chartered plane in Clear Lake, Iowa . The plane crashed and that day is known as "the day the music died." Buddy's famous black horn rimmed glasses were found at the crash site and were placed in an evidence locker. They were discovered in the early 80's and finally made their way to the the Center in 1999.

Across the street from the Center is a statue of Buddy Holly in front of the Texas Wall of Fame. Some of the names on the wall are: Buddy, of course, Waylon Jennings ( who was supposed to go on the plane but gave his seat to the Big Bopper) Tanya Tucker, Roy Orbison, Gatlin Brothers and lots more.

It took an hour and a half to get to Clovis, New Mexico and I didn't realize that the time would change. I thought I was arriving just on time for the one o'clock tour of the Norman Petty Recording Studio but it was only twelve. Ken, the wonderful man who gives the tours, told me to go and have lunch at the Foxy Drive In - it's where Buddy and the gang went when they were recording. Hope the food was better then because it was forgettable today.

When I returned for the tour I saw Ken talking to three people on the sidewalk. Ironically, they hadn't seen each other in a while and were talking about the old days when they were either backup singers or musicians. What an interesting group!

Finally , it was time to enter the studio, see the equipment, sit in Buddy Holly's chair, see where they ate and slept. EVERYTHING is original - exactly as it was then. It was a time warp back to the 50's.

I couldn't thank Ken enough for all of the information and insight. It was great getting a tour from someone who knew Buddy, worked with him , and shared in the glory and the grief. To think that Buddy's career ended after only 18 months of stardom at the very young age of 22.

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