Thursday, September 5, 2013

Buddy Holly: That’ll Be The Day

Buddy Holly: That’ll Be The Day

A few days ago, I had a Skype video call with my daughter, who, as I mentioned in my last post, will be spending the year studying in Barcelona. All is going well in the first days, and she seems happy in her home-stay apartment, The call cut off a few times, due to Internet issues, and I was struck by the fact that we have reached a point where we get upset when our free video call with our daughter in Spain doesn’t work perfectly. It made me think about when I traveled in Europe during college, and had to go to some special call center to pay money to call my parents, probably to ask for money. Which reminds me that I was also upset that our attempts to arrange for Internet transfers of funds between my bank account and my daughter’s also didn’t go completely smoothly.

This, of course, has nothing to do with Buddy Holly, except that in my mind, Buddy Holly, who died in 1959, and my daughter, who was born in 1993, will always be linked. When she was 6 years old, we went to England for a week, and wanted to find a play on the West End that would interest her and her older brother. We got tickets for Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story. Considered to be the first “jukebox musical,” it was great (and more accurate than the Gary Busey-starring movie). My daughter fell in love with Holly’s music, and it is hard to blame her—he was a genius, whose unfortunately limited musical output still mostly stands up after all of these years. If you want to argue that the Beatles were the most influential musicians in rock music, that is fair, but it is no coincidence that the first song that The Quarrymen (the proto-Beatles) ever recorded was “That’ll Be The Day.” Or that their name was a tribute to Holly’s band, The Crickets.

At the time, my daughter’s school had an enrichment program called “Challenge,” and all of the students were required to do a research project for presentation at the “Creativity Fair.” You know, lots of smart, serious little kids, standing in front of trifold posterboard displays in the gym answering questions from earnest, well-meaning parents. My daughter decided to do hers about Buddy Holly. She immersed herself in his music, read some age-appropriate books and articles about him, and became an expert. Yours truly trolled eBay for cheap Buddy Holly memorabilia to add to her display.

Part of the project required the students to do an interview, which in this case seemed a bit difficult, when fate intervened. I found out that a lawyer I knew had become friendly with Dion DiMucci (of “Runaround Sue” fame). Dion had been a friend of Holly’s, and, in fact, turned down a seat on the ill-fated plane on that icy Iowa night, because it was too expensive. My contact convinced Dion to be interviewed, in writing, by my daughter, and he handwrote responses to the questions that she had come up with. Apparently, Holly loved the pizza in DiMucci’s native Bronx, because he couldn’t get anything like it back home in Lubbock. And, as I previously wrote, my daughter did a karaoke version of “That’ll Be The Day,” at a friend’s wedding.

Since then, my daughter’s musical tastes have predictably changed, but every once in a while, I know that she returns to Holly’s pure pop music.

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