Buddy Holly was perhaps as big a guy as any the music industry has ever seen, the fact that he died at the age of 22 didnt deter him from being a huge inspiration for the Holy Trinity of Rock, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, although what it did was, we never got to hear much about this guy. Specially being part of a generation which is blooming more than 50 years after that february of 1959, when perhaps the most influential artist of a generation died in a plane crash. And as is befitting for a musician, the biggest tribute for him came from a guy in 1971 in the form of a song, which has enabled even me to discover and fall in love with Buddy’s music.
The song although is about The Day the music died, that is when Buddy Holly died but he does tell us stories about many social icons of his age, what they were doing and what they were famous for.
A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.
But february made me shiver
(3rd feb 1959, the day the music died)
With every paper I’d deliver.
(McLean was a paper delievery boy then)
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
(his widow wife was pregnant then, suffering a miscarriage 6 months later)
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
“this’ll be the day that I die.”
(That’ll be the day that I die, perhaps the most famous Holly song)
Did you write the book of love,
( (Who Wrote) The Book of Love – The Monotones)
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock ‘n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
“(White Sport Coat and a) Pink Carnation” – Marty Robbins
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.
Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
(Must’ve been 69 when he wrote this song)
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
(The Rolling Stones)
But that’s not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
(‘King’ of Rock & Roll : Elvis & The Jester : Bob Dylan)
In a coat he borrowed from james dean
(James Dean wiki (enter) )
And a voice that came from you and me,
(Dylan, the voice of masses in 60s, the youth icon of the decade)
Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
(passing on the mentle from Elvis to Dylan as the face of the generation)
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while lenin read a book of marx,
( Lenin & Marx dont need any introduction)
The quartet practiced in the park,
(Quartet = John, Paul, George, Ringo)
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.
Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
(Helter Skelter was when Beatles started Hard Rock)
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
(Eight Miles High – Song by The Byrds)
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.
(The famous Bob Dylan bike accident)
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
(Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band)
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
`cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
(Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band )
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
(July 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on moon and a generation had found a fascination)
With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
(Jumping Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones)
Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.
(Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones)
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
(Some people say, this paragraph might be a reference to Rolling Stones, Don McLean didnt prefer their music too much)
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.
That this song is perhaps my all time favorite song and has play count more than twice of any beatles song, is a story of another post.