Postcard from... Lubbock

 

Even without signboards, the sizable sculpture of a pair of heavy black glasses outside Lubbock’s Buddy Holly Centre would have made it clear what it is all about.

Holly’s real dark horn-rimmed glasses, so emblematic of the co-composer of “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day”, now sit in a glass-sided case in the centre in Holly’s hometown in Texas. Lost when Holly was killed, aged 22, in a plane crash in 1959, 31 years later the glasses were unearthed in a coroner’s office.

Other key elements of Holly’s painfully short career are also present here. His Fender Stratocaster and Gibson  guitars, his singles collection, ranging from Ray Charles to America’s “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson, and the motorbike he bought on impulse in a Dallas showroom after a successful tour, and drove the 350 miles home to Lubbock.

As the centre’s collection quietly – but correctly – underlines, Holly’s influence on early rock’n’roll was enormous. The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney, for one, recalls watching Holly on television in 1958 purely to see which chords he used. “We followed his records and that was really the beginning of The Beatles,” McCartney said of Holly last year.

In a documentary his family discuss the star’s own first concert, aged seven as a backing musician, on violin, for his guitar-playing brother. Funnily enough, for a star whose music is still so hugely popular, the violin young Buddy “played” had its strings greased to cut out any risk of duff notes.

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