Posts Tagged ‘Buddy Holly’
In the late 60s, record companies took to the streets, using billboards to promote record releases. Photographer Robert Landau was there to document the blitz.
“When I went out to explore the world,” says Landau. “I felt the Strip was like a gallery; there were these hand-painted works of art on the street. … They looked like giant art pieces that kind of represented my generation and the music I listened to.”
“At one time, L.A. just felt a lot funkier. It felt more Western, and … people could come here and do whatever they want. To a degree, that created a lot of chaos, but there was something about that freedom that allowed people to do fun things,” he says. “Things were a little quirkier back then. There was a bit more of a personal feel to the environment.”
* single from The Who’s 1969 album Tommy.
As we celebrate synesthesia, we might send birthday hooks to Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley**; he was born on this date in 1936. A rock pioneer, Holley saw Elvis perform in 1955, and was inspired to create his own sound– a blend of Rockabilly and R&B– that exploded onto the music scene. He was among the first to write, produce, and perform his own songs, and established the “two guitar, bass, and drums” template that became standard for rock.
His career lasted only a year and a half, before he was killed in a plane crash. Still, he was profoundly influential on the future of popular music: an avowed influence on hundreds of acts, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan; and one of the most covered artists of all time.
** Decca Records misspelled his name “Holly” on his first release, and Holley adopted the “stage spelling” for the rest of his career.
Hear Buddy Holley/Holly on Spotify.
From the folks at Concert Hotels, “100 Years of Rock in Less Than a Minute.” Rock’s family tree– from 1900 to 2000– unspools (as excerpted above); and each box, when clicked, plays an example of the genre. Educational fun for all!
* David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) in This is Spinal Tap… which is fast approaching– in March– the 30th anniversary of its release
As we turn it up to 11, we might recall that this date in 1959 was “the day the music died”: the day that a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (aka, The Big Bopper), and pilot Roger Peterson.
If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.
- Tom Stoppard
Foreign Policy suggests that China is using Top Gun footage as Chinese air force drill reportage… (particularly amusing to your correspondent, as his alma mater [USFX, part of Colossal Pictures] created the shots in question :-)
As part of its ongoing expansion, has the People’s Liberation Army signed up Goose and Maverick? Chinese bloggers are accusing state broadcaster CCTV of using repurposed footage from the 1986 film Top Gun for a story on a recent air force drill. “Ministry of Tofu” explains:
In the newscast, the way a target was hit by the air-to-air missile fired by a J-10 fighter aircraft and exploded looks almost identical to a cinema scene from the Hollywood film Top Gun.
A net user who went by the name “??” (Liu Yi) pointed out that the jet that the J-10 “hit” is an F-5, a US fighter jet. In Top Gun, what the leading actor Tom Cruise pilots an F-14 to bring down is exactly an F-5. Looking at the screenshots juxtaposition, one cannot fail to find that even flame, smoke and the way the splinters fly look the same.
Assuming the above screen shots [more at the links in the first paragraph, above] are genuine, the rip-off seems pretty clear. In related news, CCTV recently aired footage of the Chinese Olympic volleyball team at their secret training facility.
As we remind ourselves never to trust our eyes, we might recall that this date in 1959 was “the day the music died”: the day that a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (aka, The Big Bopper), and pilot Roger Peterson.
15 July 1972, Billerica, MA — Don Stover was a bluegrass banjo picker from White Oak, West Virginia. In 1952 he joined the Lilly Brothers from nearby Beckley, and headed for Boston, where they played together for over eighteen years at the (in)famous Hillbilly Ranch. Stover had great influence on a generation of important young banjo pickers, from Bill Keith (who introduced chromatic scales to bluegrass as a member of Bill Monroe’s band) to Bela Fleck (the bluegrass and jazz-fusion star)
Courtesy of the always fascinating Selvedge Yard, a selection of photos from the archive of photographer Henry Horenstein, “Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981“– a time before CMT and “New Country,” a time when country was… well, country.
15 July 1974, Berryville, Virginia — Bluegrass music fans at the Berryville Bluegrass Festival
15 July, 1975, Cambridge, MA. Waylon Jennings began as his career as a Cricket (Buddy Holly’s bass player) and ended it as an Outlaw (a member of the group that also included Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, and Billy Joe Shaver). Along the way, he conspired with Johnny Cash in the addled 60s , then charted a series of hits that included the classic “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
See the rest of Horenstein’s arresting photos at The Selvedge Yard.
As we pine for a PBR, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that, in another corner of the music world, Chuck Berry’s first hit record, “Maybellene” entered the R&B chart. Piano player Johnnie Johnson recalls that he and Berry rewrote the song at the suggestion of Leonard Chess: “It was an old fiddle tune called ‘Ida Red’[recorded in 1938 by Bob Wills]. I changed the music and re-arranged it, Chuck re-wrote the words, and the rest, as they say, was history. Leonard Chess asked me to come up to record it live. At that time, someone else already had a song out by the same name, so we had to change our version. We noticed a mascara box in the corner, so we changed the name to ‘Maybellene.'”