Buddy Holly's unstoppable punk



Too bad it’s not a live musical performance, but lip-synced. There are a couple actual live TV appearances by the Crickets on YouTube, but only of other songs. They are more rockin’.

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Oh that damn “race music!”

There’s something surreal about how at the time, this was considered noise akin to rap music in the 80s and 90s, and yet it’s so mundane and presented in an intentionally wholesome packaging: unmoving men in tuxedos, calmly standing and playing, while the good girls in formal dresses stand around and patiently watch.

Not that concert footage is all that wild, but at least they move.

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Can I be a rock n roll specialist?


It is probably the quality of the footage, buy Holly looks like a surly Peewee Herman in that performance. No bad thing.

Reminds me of the square introduction for Jimi Hendrix on the BBC show “Happening for Lulu.” In her defense, Lulu might have been rattled because she was trying to describe them in between songs, after they played Voodoo Chile.


this Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child video is only about 12 years after the Buddy Holly Peggy Sue video, and it’s just a Promethean, Frankensteinian transmogrification in sound - it’s been almost twice that long since Nevermind and what’s new, in music or anywhere? - some stuff, the internet i guess, and eastern Europe, but what’s an example of something that has been blasted out of the gravity well so explosively like that in the last 25 years? 40? - anyone know a good book or article on when, why and how the world got so incremental and boring

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I don’t really think of Buddy Holly as being a direct influence on Hendrix. Hendrix was probably more influenced by 40’s and 50’s electric blues, much of which happened even before Buddy Holly. Folks were already playing overdriven electric guitars long before Hendrix; Holly just wasn’t part of that scene.

Besides that, I think you can credit a lot of the big jump in sound you’re talking about to The Kinks. Early Kinks albums are obviously building on classic rock 'n roll (Something Else by The Kinks is a good example) but Dave Davies was pretty important in terms of introducing really raunchy electric guitar tones into rock. The less bluesy and more psychedelic aspects of Hendrix’s music seem to be influenced by bands like The Zombies where you can still hear the classic rock 'n roll influence but with a lot more experimentation in song structure, rhythm, and harmonies.

Besides that, if you compare, say, Sugar Hill Gang to Notorious B.I.G. you can see a comparable evolution in sound in a similar time period.


You can see a quick change in styles from bebop to free jazz to free improvisation.
In a more popular vein, I recommend Peter Shapiro’s book Modulations, which will give you a quick run down of multiple popular music trends, who influenced who, and where certain styles came from the merger of other styles. Comparing 80s-90s house music and dubstep is another one of these fast explosions of style change. Many times these musical paradigm shifts result from a small scene in one town, too.

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On the one hand, people are always critical of the generation that follows them when it comes to art, music, lit, etc., in a subjective, short-sighted, GET OFF MY LAWN kinda way. See Tom the Dancing Bug, “A council of the nation’s top critics have come to the inescapable, objective conclusion that the best period of pop culture occurred when you were twelve years old.”

On the other hand, even if we don’t personally like newer music, I have to agree that nothing in recent decades has seemed really earth-shatteringly different. I wonder if it can be explained (as everything can!) by the rise of the internet. I mean, people are able to divide into smaller niches and find groups of people with similar interests. It used to be we only saw the big fish that jumped out of the big pond, spotlighted by mainstream media and culture. These days there are thousands of new smaller ponds with fish that only seem big in those small ponds. The ones that are noticed by the mainstream just don’t seem iconoclastic. Lady Gaga? Beyonce? Jay Z? Miley Cyrus? Bieber?


On the other hand, Buddy Holly was clearly a big electric blues fan.

I wonder the same thing. I just brought up Jar of Flies, and while it sounds a little dated, it doesn’t sound ancient.

I blame record labels and radio stations, too. They still exist. I blame the system for the popularity of Nickelback a few years ago.

And it’s funny you bring up Lady Gaga. To paraphrase an MTV VJ’s description of Stone Temple Pilots: what doesn’t she sound like? A lot of Pharrell WIlliams’ stuff sounds like you could throw it at a DJ about 1982 and he would have given Michael Jackson some serious competition.

This wouldn’t have seemed too out of place in 1986:

But yeah, I’m a little sad that music seems to have changed so little over the last 20 years. I mean, look at the Beatles: Please Please Me and Abby Road are only 6 years apart.

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