Buddy Holly was a ground-breaking artist. Among the first to write his own songs, he is also credited with being the first artist to utilize the classic four-piece lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums.

Holly was just 22 years old when he lost his life in a tragic plane crash on February 3, 1959 that also took the lives of JP Richardson, better known as the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens.

The list of artists who have recorded Buddy’s music over the years reads like a who’s who of rock – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead, Don McLean, Elvis Costello, the Black Keys, and many more.

Here are some of the many artists who were influenced by Holly, as well as two WDHA exclusives featuring Pat DiNizio from the Smithereens and our own Jim Monaghan.

Rave on!

  • "Luanne" - Foreigner

    Inspired in part by Buddy Holly’s use of a girl’s name on songs such as “Peggy Sue,” Foreigner served up their version of power pop with this great track from Foreigner 4.

  • "Buddy Holly" - Weezer

    “Buddy Holly” was released as the second single from Weezer‘s self-titled debut album (sometimes called “The Blue Album”) on September 7, 1994, which would have been Buddy Holly’s 58th birthday.

  • "Maria Elena" - Smithereens

    Pat DiNizio once said that he was, “A Buddy Holly/Beatles-influenced three chord pop singer/songwriter who happened to be standing on the right corner at the right moment and got lucky with his band, The Smithereens.”

    Appearing on Smithereens 11, “Maria Elena” is the band’s loving tribute to both Buddy Holly and his widow Maria Elena.

  • "Not Fade Away / Oh Boy / Rave On" - Bruce Springsteen

    Longtime Bruce Springsteen fans speak of the 1978 E Street Band tour in support of Darkness On the Edge of Town in reverential terms. Pre-Born In the USA, this is the Boss just a few years from exploding around the world.

    This is a great live medley from that 1978 tour of three of Buddy Holly’s best-known songs.

  • "Crying Waiting Hoping" - Marshall Crenshaw

    It’s not hard to put Marshall Crenshaw in the same conversation as Buddy Holly. From his own signature glasses to his power-pop-perfect songs, Crenshaw was the ideal choice to be cast as Holly in the 1987 film La Bamba which centered around Ritchie Valens who was killed in the plane crash on February 3, 1959 along with Holly and the Big Bopper (JP Richardson).

  • "American Pie" - Don McLean

    You definitely know this song – and can probably sing along to the entire 8-plus minutes of this Don McLean classic.  But odds are that you’ve never heard this version.

    A musical journey from the late 1950’s through the 60’s, the song’s lyrical references have been dissected over and over.

    According to McLean’s website, “This is an early recording of Don singing ‘American Pie’ unearthed from the archives of WMUC radio, a student-run station at the University of Maryland.

    The station believes the recording originates from spring 1971, well before the song was released for sale as a single. There are some differences between this WMUC recording and the lyrics and music as we know them from the record.”

  • "Well All Right" - Pat DiNizio & Jim Monaghan

    Pat DiNizio was a frequent guest at WDHA and whenever he showed up, he was sure to bring a guitar with him. This Buddy Holly classis was recorded live here at WDHA with Jim Monaghan accompanying him.


  • "Words of Love" - Pat DiNizio & Jim Monaghan

    Another Holly song recorded live on the air here at WDHA with Pat DiNizio and Jim Monaghan.

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