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On a cold winter's night a small private plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa bound for Fargo, N.D. It never made its destination.

When that plane crashed, it claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson. Three of Rock and Roll's most promising performers were gone.




Buddy Holly played rock and roll for only two short years, but the wealth of material he recorded in that time made a major and lasting impact on popular music. Holly was an innovator who wrote his own material and was among the first to exploit such advanced studio techniques as double-tracking. He pioneered and popularized the now-standard rock-band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. In his final months, he even began experimenting with orchestration. Holly’s catalog of songs includes such standards of the rock and roll canon asRave On,” “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” Oh Boy!” and “Maybe Baby.”

Though Holly lacked the arresting sexuality of Elvis Presley, he nonetheless cut an engaging, charismatic figure with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and vocal hiccup. His creative self-reliance and energetic, inspired craftsmanship prefigured the coming wave of rock and rollers in the Sixties. Holly was a professed influence on the Beatles and Hollies (both of whom derived their names from his). Even the Rolling Stones had their first major British hit with Holly’s “Not Fade Away.

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