When Charles Hardin Holley, better known to '50s rock 'n' roll aficionados as Buddy Holly, got picked up by Decca Records in 1956, they accidentally misspelled the soon-to-be-icon's last name on his contract. But the "aw, shucks" Lubbock, Texas-raised Buddy rolled with the punches, going on to use "Holly" as his stage name. Known for his signature black-rimmed glasses and vocal hiccups in songs like "Peggy Sue," "I love you Peggy Sue / with a love so rare and true-a-uue"--Holly's soulful rock 'n' roll influenced the genre for generations to come. Rock legends like the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen have all called Holly an inspiration.
Many years after the tragic plane crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959, Holly's influence has continued to rave on. In 1971, musician Don McLean immortalized the crash as "the day the music died" in his signature song "American Pie." Years later, black spectacle-clad Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo paid tribute to Holly on the college-kegger anthem "Buddy Holly."
But covers and homages are no longer enough to satiate the public's thirst for Holly. In the vein of Cirque du Soleil's glitzy Beatles production, Love, Buddy Holly has gotten his own splashy live show. From Hyperion Productions, the company that brought us A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline and Yesterday and Today, the Interactive Beatles Experience comes Rave On, the Buddy Holly Experience. Rave On will hit the Morrison Center on Friday, April 23, with impersonator Billy McGuigan on the mic and the six-piece Rave On band and horn section backing him up. Prepare for your heart to go piddle-dee-pat.
Friday, April 23, 7:30 p.m., $15-$30, Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, 1910 University Drive, 208-426-1609, hyperion-productions.com.