Monday, March 23, 2009

Buddy Holly

A new Buddy Holly collection has been issued that includes some of his private recordings done in the last year of his life. The collection was reviewed on Fresh Air this afternoon. I was deeply moved hearing the review, not only because of the thought of being able to hear previously unreleased material, but also because of the large part Buddy Holly played in my musical life.
He was at the peak of his popularity when I was in high school, and he was killed the year I graduated. I have several of his albums, vinyl LPs, that I still get out and play occasionally. I also have "Best Of" collections on CD. My favorite song is Not Fade Away, an affection I apparently share with a majority of his fans. I have never tired of hearing his music. His was an incredible talent.
The Fresh Air reviewer, Ed Ward, pointed out that Buddy was trying a lot of different things in his latest recordings. Ed wants us to imagine what Buddy would have become if he hadn't been in that plane that night. I would hope he would have gone down new paths and gotten better and better like John McCarthy of the Beatles or Ray Charles. But there's always the possibility that he could have taken a different road like Elvis did. As tragic as Buddy's death was, it has served to immortalize him as he was at his peak. His life and his musical career were cut off, but his death also prevented any diminution of his legend. Buddy Holly lives on in my memory just as he was when he died in 1959.
This year will see my 50th high school class reunion, and I'll be looking forward to hearing Buddy's music, a part of all which we were back in high school. A part that hasn't and won't change. There's some irony in the title of his famous song. The memory of Buddy Holly will "Not Fade Away".

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