On this day in history, September 7, 1936, legendary singer-songwriter Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, Texas

Legendary American singer-songwriter Charles Hardin Holley – known to the world as Buddy Holly – was born on this day in history, September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas.

The spelling change from “Holley” to “Holly” was due to an error in a contract he was supposed to sign, which listed him as “Buddy Holly” according to The Buddy Holly Story website.

As the fourth and youngest child in his family, Holly was nicknamed “Buddy” by his mother because she felt his first name was too big for her little boy, according to Biography.com.

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As a youth, Holly studied piano and violin while his older brothers taught him the basics of guitar.

The same source stated that his parents were supportive of their son’s burgeoning musical talents.

According to Britannica.com, he was influenced by the African American rhythm and blues he heard on the radio.

Buddy Holly and The Crickets

Buddy Holly and the Crickets (left to right), Joe B. Mauldin, Buddy Holly (with Fender Stratocaster guitar) and Jerry Allison pose for a group photo on the set of BBC TV show ‘Off The Record’ during their UK concert tour in March 1958. (John Rodgers/Redferns)

“Already familiar with country music, bluegrass and gospel and a seasoned performer by the age of 16, he was emerging as a rhythm and blues fanatic. In 1955, after hearing Elvis Presley, Holly became a full-time rock ‘n’ roller,” the source said.

The Elvis influence had a big impact on Holly, who was drawn to Elvis’ charisma and energetic, exciting sound, according to the New World Encyclopedia.

Late in the year, Holly bought a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and developed a playing style of ringing major chords that became his trademark, most recognizable in the solo break in the tune “Peggy Sue,” Britannica.com said.

Elvis Presley was a huge influence on Buddy Holly.

Holly’s big break came when the band opened for Bill Haley and his Comets at a rock ‘n’ roll show in Lubbock, Texas.

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As a result of this performance, Holly was offered a contract with Decca Records to work alone.

However, according to the New Work Encyclopedia, early success as a solo artist failed to materialize.

It was reported that Holly’s public name was changed from “Holley” to “Holly” on February 8, 1956 when he signed the Decca treaty, according to the same source.

Jerry Allison

Jerry Allison (far right), drummer for Buddy Holly (center) and the Crickets, died in August 2022 at the age of 82. Far left is Joe B. Mauldin (1940–2015). (Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images)

Holly formed his own band, the Crickets, and began recording at Norman Petty’s studios in Clovis, New Mexico.

Among the songs they recorded was “That’ll Be The Day”.

After releasing several hugely successful songs, he and the Crickets toured the UK in March 1958, according to The Buddy Holly Story website.

Holly married Maria Elena Santiago on August 15, 1958 – and in 1959 Holly split from the Crickets and embarked on a solo tour with other big-name artists including Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson, the same source said.

On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly died in a tragic plane crash along with JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens.

After performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2, 1959, Holly chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour after experiencing mechanical difficulties with a tour bus, History.com reports.


However, Richardson, who was ill with the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane, the same source reported.

On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly died in a tragic plane crash along with JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens.

The crash happened minutes after a flight bound for Moorhead, Minnesota, took off from Mason City.

Buddy Holly

Photograph of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, circa 1958. Singer Don McLean commemorated Holly, Valens and Richardson with the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which used February 3, 1959 as “the Day the Music Died’. (Steve Oroz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Investigators blamed inclement weather and pilot error for the crash, according to multiple sources.

Holly was only 22 when he died.

Holly’s headstone bears the correct spelling of his name, Buddy Holley, History.com reported. It also features a carving of his favorite guitar.

The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences opened in Lubbock in January 2021.

Singer Don McLean forever remembered Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which credits February 3, 1959 as “the day the music died.”

Holly’s talents continued to be noticed even after his untimely death.


“Unreleased recordings and compilations of Holly’s work were released in a steady stream throughout the 1960s. Due to the continued popularity of his music and film adaptations of his life story, Holly’s horn-rimmed glasses are easily recognizable today,” Biography.com said.

His hometown of Lubbock, Texas also paid tribute to him.


Downtown Lubbock has a “Walk of Fame” with plaques commemorating various local artists such as Mac Davis and Waylon Jennings, with a life-size statue of a guitar played by Buddy Holly as the centerpiece.


Additionally, the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences opened in Lubbock in January 2021.

Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Rick Schindler joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: RickSchindler@worldtimetodays.com.

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