Buddy Holly is getting a lot of love on what would have been his 85th birthday, had we not lost him so many years ago. The rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, who was known for several big hits like “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day,” is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of all time. The Beatles were notably big fans of Holly’s work with the late singer’s style also influencing other big names like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Elton John.
Sadly, Buddy Holly died at the age of 22 in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959. The day has become known as “The Day the Music Died,” as beloved singers Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper also died in the crash along with pilot Roger Peterson. Because Holly had been such a workhorse as a musician, he had new music coming out for years after his death. Over six decades later, fans can only imagine what all else the singer would have accomplished.
“It would be so terrific to see an aging 85 year old Buddy Holly get up on stage today,” says one fan of the legendary rocker. “Rocking and playing all those wonderful songs that never got written after 1959. I can dream.”
“Happy birthday Buddy Holly! I love you so much and really miss you,” says another fan. “You had to leave us far too early, still you’ll always be remembered as one of the most influential musicians in classic rock history.”
Including video footage of Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue” live on television, a tweet from The Ed Sullivan Show reads: “Today, we celebrate the legendary rock icon #BuddyHolly on his birthday. Holly’s spirit continues to live on in his music and the influence he has had on so many artists who have come after him.”
The official Buddy Holly page on Facebook includes a tribute post that remembers the singer eloquently. It reads, “Today would have been Buddy’s 85th birthday. It will forever be one of the greatest tragedies in music that the world was robbed of the greatest writer, performer and innovator at such a young age and with still so much to share. Today we can look back and see movies, musicals, a lifetime of countless other artists interpreting his songs, hologram tours, The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, the wonderful work of The Buddy Holly Center and The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation promoting his legacy and benefitting the new generation.”
“Sadly what we don’t have is decades more of his creativity, but we can at least give thanks for the music he did produce that has enriched all our lives ever since,” the post adds. “Rock On Buddy. Happy 85th Birthday and thank you for the music you made and inspired.”
Holly’s life story was previously explored in the 1978 biopic The Buddy Holly Story, which earned Gary Busey a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. He was later played by Marshall Crenshaw in the Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba in 1987. Frankie Muniz also appeared as Buddy in the 2007 comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
A new Buddy Holly biopic is currently in the works from director Bruce Beresford. Called Clear Lake, the movie explores Holly’s teen years before delving into his successful but short rise to superstardom as a rock ‘n’ roll star. Ruairi O’Connor (The Morning Show) has been cast to play Buddy Holly in the movie, which will include performing his music in addition to acting the part. It’s not yet clear when Clear Lake will be released.
Happy heavenly birthday to Buddy Holly. Even after more than 60 years, the beloved singer is still loved and missed. You can check out some of the other tribute posts for Buddy in honor of his 85th birthday on Twitter.