This past week I was on a road trip with my family.
I was so inspired. I finally went to Cadillac Ranch. While I know the Boss’s song isn’t actually about the place, it really connected me to his music and that alone was inspiring.
But what we did the following day is what really has stuck with me. I rarely post about my love for the man I’m about to talk about, but he’s had a profound influence on my love for music and has directly influenced many of the artists I love, including the Boss.
I finally visited a place I had been hoping to go to for ten years.
I grew up listening to whatever music my mother had on when we would drive around in the car. We didn’t have a lot of money for big vacations, so on road trips to visit my grandma, my mother would rent a bunch of CDs from the library and play them for us. Some trips it was Dean Martin, others the Steve Miller Band, but one of my absolute favorites was Buddy Holly.
Buddy was special to me. I loved all the music my mom played, but Buddy was different. When I listened to his music it just stuck with me. Not in the inspiring lyrical way that musicians like the Boss do, or in musical ways like Queen. What stuck with me was Buddy.
I loved how unapologetically quirky he was with his big black glasses and goofy inflection as he sang. To me, Buddy was confidently himself and I wanted that. In middle school I became really invested in his music and to this day I have a special place in my love of music for him.
I remember visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and staring at his suit and belt. As my family moved on, I stood there and began to realize that this musician I loved was a living, breathing person. He had friends, family, and a ton of talent. His tragic death not only impacted music, but the people around him who loved and cared for him.
After that, not only did I love Buddy’s music, but Buddy as well. When I failed my school’s eye exam in the eighth grade I know exactly which kind of glasses I wanted to get, Buddy’s.
Years passed and I moved on to like many other bands, but whenever a Crickets song came on I would smile, feeling the joy the band had as they played.
But this past week I finally went to Lubbock, Texas.
There’s not much to do in Lubbock. It’s not a big town. It’s not a rich town. Lubbock was the birthplace and home of its most famous resident, Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley.
Now, there is a center/museum with memorabilia from his life. I saw his baseball glove he owned as a teenager, etched with BH+EM for his high school sweetheart. I saw his motorcycle that his father would drive around town after his death. I saw his first guitar with a gold finish next to an amp that was falling apart. I saw childhood drawings by little Buddy Holley. I once again was in awe of the realization that this was a real man. This legend of Rock and Roll was a little kid who dreamed of his future, a future he never got to have.
Even now, I tear up remembering the glasses.
When I saw the glasses, I first thought of how cool it was to see something that iconic. I went to read the sign near them and realized these were the glasses Buddy wore on February 2, 1959. These were the glasses that were recovered at the crash site and returned to the family. These were the glasses covered in little nicks and scratches, but still in one piece. These were Buddy’s glasses the night he died.
Buddy Holly is a legend that inspired Rock and Roll greats including the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. This is the man who’s career was only a short 18 months before it was cut short by his tragic death.
I’m so glad Buddy was able to share his talents, because music truly wouldn’t have been the same without him.