Buddy, with other young Lubbock “pickers,” formed several country groups. In 1955, he saw Elvis Presley in concert and was impressed by Presley’s rhythm and performance style. Buddy and his friends were opening for big country acts at the Fair Park Coliseum when Eddie Crandall, an agent and manager, saw a performance and helped Buddy broker a Decca recording contract. Buddy’s last name was misspelled on the contract: “Holley” became “Holly.” Buddy’s relationship with Decca was short-lived as his early recording sessions failed to produce a hit.
In 1957, Buddy and his new band, The Crickets, began working with producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. On February 25, 1957, they recorded “That’ll Be The Day,” the first of several hits on the Brunswick label. Their success led the band to tour widely in the United States and Canada.
In 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets toured England. The group had a profound influence on rock and roll in England – from their sound to Buddy’s distinct look. On February 3, 1959, during a three-week tour of the Midwestern United States, Buddy’s chartered plane crashed after takeoff due to bad weather. There were no survivors. Buddy Holly was 22 years old.