Today in History: September 7

Charles Hardin Holley was born 80 years ago today in Lubbock, Texas.

His family nicknamed him Buddy. The Holley family was a music-loving one, and Buddy was participating in talent shows and contests before he was in high school. Within a year of graduating from high school, he was signed to his first recording contract, with Decca. His name was misspelled by Decca’s agent on the paperwork: Buddy Holly.

That first contract yielded very little for either Buddy Holly or Decca: he did not like having a producer oversee operations, even though that producer was one, Owen Bradley, whose eventual reputation was made molding singer-songwriters, and no hits resulted. Decca fired him within months, but it enforced the terms of his contract: he could not re-record his songs with any other label for the next five years.

Thus, his subsequent recordings, one of them a re-recording of a song Decca rejected titled “That’ll Be the Day,” were released under the name of his new band, the Crickets. But they were all written or co-written by Buddy Holly. By 1957, he was a star.

In a career that only lasted a few months, less than two full years, Buddy Holly recorded continuously. Three albums were released in his lifetime. A six-CD box set came out in 2008 titled Not Fade Away, and even though it includes many half-starts and partial songs, it offers 203 tracks.

It ended on February 3, 1959, with a plane crash in Iowa after a well-received performance in Clear Lake, Iowa. He was 22. Many career options lay ahead of him, but, unknown to him, his legacy was established through that handful of recordings. “Everyday”:

 
In 2013, Garrison Keillor brought his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, to Lubbock, TX, where he interviewed Buddy Holly’s older brother, Travis, and Peggy Sue Gerron, whom Holly immortalized in a song that you have probably heard. Both are still alive in 2016.

 
* * * *
Keith Moon died on this date in 1978. Warren Zevon died 13 years ago today. “Lawyers, Guns, and Money”:

 
* * * *
Queen Elizabeth I of England was born on this date in 1533. Grandma Moses was born on this date in 1860. Al McGuire was born on this date in 1928.

* * * *
Sonny Rollins is 86 today. He posted a statement, captioned, “Something about Jazz on the eve of turning 86,” on his Facebook page this week:

 
He also included a recent performance clip:

 
Gloria Gaynor is 67 today.

 
Peggy Noonan is 66. Julie Kavner is 66 today. Chrissie Hynde is 65 today. Diane Warren is 60. Jennifer Egan is 54 today. Leslie Jones is 49 today. Evan Rachel Wood is 29 today.

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