Holly was killed in a plane crash along with Richie Valens and The Big Bopper in 1959. Holly's guitar player Tommy Allsup was not on the plane because he gave up his seat to Valens. The crash was caused by bad weather and a 21-year-old pilot who was not qualified to fly in low visibility using just instruments. To read the aircraft incident report, you can download it here
. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Holly was on the "Winter Dance Party" tour when he was killed. He was flying from a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, North Dakota. In the early years of Rock and Roll, musicians often took dangerous chances getting where they needed to be.
The Beatles chose their name partly as a takeoff on Holly's backup band, The Crickets.
A movie about his life, The Buddy Holly Story, was released in 1978 starring Gary Busey, who sang Holly's songs himself for the film. Keith Moon of The Who died of an overdose the day after seeing this movie.
In Don McLean's "American Pie," "The day the music died" is the plane crash that killed Holly.
In the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, John Travolta has a Buddy Holly lookalike as a waiter. He is not a good waiter.
Holly's last concert was at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa the night before his crash.
Buddy Holly and The Crickets were the first big-name white group to play the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They were booked there in 1957 by a promoter who assumed they were black (this happened from time to time, since most acts were heard long before they were seen). Their show went over well.
Paul McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's songs.
His group, The Crickets, continued to perform after his death.
In 1980, Holly's famous horn-rimmed glasses were discovered in a police file in Iowa, where they had been since his death.
Some evidence of Holly's influence: The Beatles got their name from the Crickets. The Hollies named themselves after Buddy Holly. The Rolling Stones first hit was the Buddy Holly song "Not Fade Away." Tommy Roe's self-penned "Shiela" was heavily influenced by "Peggy Sue."
The Crickets' 1957 debut album, The "Chirping" Crickets was the only LP to feature Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime.