Friday, 27 February 2009

The Unseen Buddy Holly

Fifty Years after his death and a new exhibition of photographs is helping Buddy Holly not fade away.

Besides his permanent musical legacy all that remains of Buddy Holly is a gravestone in the city of Lubbock’s cemetery with a Fender Stratocaster carved into it. Scores of die hard fans and musicians who have been influenced by him have gained no new insight into the character of one of the most significant musicians of the twentieth century since his untimely death in 1959. The tragic airplane crash which killed him cut short an already remarkable career, widowed Holly’s pregnant wife after only six months of marriage, possibly causing her miscarriage soon after and also took the lives of fellow rockers Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

The 50th anniversary of this tragic day in rock and roll’s history will be marked by the opening of an exhibition at proud galleries, London. Buddy Holly: The Making of an American Legend runs from 29th January to 26th April 2009. The exhibition boasts the greatest collection of Buddy Holly photographs ever compiled. The images are being shown exclusively at Proud galleries and will not tour after the exhibition closes. Holly’s iconic image has been emulated almost as much as his music, while The Beatles and The Rolling Stones sighted him as an influence, Nirvana and Weezer would incorporate his style into the music videos for ‘In Bloom’ and ‘Buddy Holly’ respectively. It’s been said he was the man who made it ok for pop stars to wear glasses, perhaps the innovator of geek chic, his instantly recognizable thick rimmed glasses are now worn by indie style whores everywhere.

Some of the less formal images capture a rarely seen side of the star. The gallery includes work from photographers including Bill Francis, Lewis Allen and Britain’s leading showbiz photographer during the rock and roll era, Harry Hammond, who also captured the images of Jerry lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran and Johnny Ray in their prime. Hammond’s images, amongst others, are compelling visual exerts from musical history that will appeal not only to Buddy Holly fans but to anyone with an interest in portraiture and photography.

Published: The Stool Pigeon, March 2009

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