On December 1, 1957, Buddy Holly and the Crickets performed the well-known hits "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" on the Ed Sullivan Show. This would be the first of two appearances on the variety series. Holly performed for a short 15 months between the release of their first album and his tragic death.
The Ed Sullivan Show showcased many talented people during its 23-year run. The series featured various entertainment, including opera singers, ballet dancers, musicians, circus acts, and more. When Holly and the Crickets appeared on the show, their album topped the charts in the US and the UK, inspiring both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
After opening for Elvis Presley in 1955, Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holley, decided to pursue a career in music. He grew up in a musical family during the Great Depression and sang along with his siblings as he played guitar. He would begin with his band Buddy and Bob, whose style, influenced by Elivs, would move from country to rock and roll.
Below is the video of Buddy Holly & the Crickets first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show from 1957.
When did Buddy Holly die?
During the Winter Dance Party tour of 1959, Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson, known as The Big Bopper, boarded a plane headed to Minnesota for their next gig. Valens won his seat in a coin toss with Tommy Allsup, and Country music star Waylon Jennings gave the Big Bopper his seat. Allsup and Jennings, along with Carl Bunch, were the musicians who made up the touring band.
At 1 a.m. on February 3, 1959, all three musicians died when the plane crashed near Mason City, Iowa, in a cornfield. Roger Peterson piloted the plane and wasn't certified to fly in the inclement weather, which required him to fly by instruments only; he died in the crash as well.
Holly was only 22 when he died and left behind dozens of unfinished recordings. Considered one of the most influential forces of early rock, Holly is a legend in the industry. The final six songs recorded before his death would be featured on Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2 album released in 1960.