Most Frequently Asked Questions...

1. I have a Winter Dance Party program/poster from The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. How much is it worth?
About a dollar, if even that. There were NO programs from the Clear Lake show as it was a last minute fill-in on the tour. What you have is most likely from the UK or Lubbock Theater play (has a denim jean ad on the back). 

As for posters, only a few were put up in the Surf itself, and it did NOT show the performers photos. Promotion wise, all that exists from the Surf show is the newspaper clipping which you can see in the Winter Dance Party section here on this site. There are only FOUR authentic posters known to exist surface from the last tour: Ft. Dodge, IA - Mankato, MN - Duluth, MN (has not been shown in public), and the 3rd was one Don Larson got from a Moorhead music shop (he unfortunately cut off the top venue/date header). All three have been made available as reprints, but unless it says it is an exact reprint from one of these two shows; what is on eBay is usually a fictitious poster. 

2. I just watched the movie. What happened to the baby and Maria Elena?
The movie is full of errors. Maria lost the supposed child after the trauma of Buddy’s death.

Tommy Allsup & Waylon Jennings claim they never heard Buddy mention anything about a future baby. Tommy states "at no time did I hear Buddy mention Maria's pregnancy, in New York, or on the tour, even though I was with him every day for 2 weeks. The Bopper was going on about his about all the time".

Maria remarried, got divorced, reclaimed Buddy's last name and is now alive & well and living in the Dallas, TX area.

3. What were the songs Buddy performed on the last tour?
No written or definite list exists, but we have the recollections of Tommy Allsup & Carl Bunch:
Also see the "Winter Dance Party 1959" section

4. What happened to the original Crickets?
Niki Sullivan was briefly with the group in 1957 (the other one with glasses). He found the schedule too tough to take, left the group and recorded a few singles, but soon quit performing. He passed away in April 2004.

J.I. Allison, Joe B. Mauldin still perform as The Crickets with ’60s Crickets' member & Buddy’s performing buddy “Sonny Curtis”. They perform on occasion, more infrequent these days. has some of their performance dates.

5. Were the Crickets trying to reunite with Buddy when he died?
Supposedly they were trying to contact Buddy to try to talk things over while he was on the Winter Dance Party tour…hoping to get back together. Unfortunately they never got in touch with each other.

6. Is it true that "Peggy Sue" was originally named "Cindy Lou" and who was Cindy Lou?
Originally a slower song with a Calypso beat, Buddy penned “Cindy Lou” named after his sister Patricia's middle name "Lou" aka Louise. Cindy was her first daughter named "Cindy Carol Weir". Buddy wanted to include both his sister and his niece in his new song, so he titled it "Cindy Lou".

Drummer J.I. Allison was dating “Peggy Sue Gerron” and they had just had an argument. Figuring a song named after her would impress her, J.I. asked if the title could be changed. Buddy daringly bet that if J.I. could drum the whole song doing “paradiddles” (the fast beat) that he would change the song. Buddy didn’t expect he could, but J.I. did and the song (and rock & roll) was forever changed.

7. Are there photos from the last show in Clear Lake, IA and where can I see them?
There are 9 B&W shots verified to exist, these are rumored to be released on a WDP Documentary from creators Sevan Garabedian & Jim McCool who copyrighted the photos.

8. What caused the plane crash?
CLICK HERE for Crash Statistics

9. Why did Buddy take the plane & who was supposed to be on it?
They were traveling in the cold Mid-West in the worst part of winter, and after a few break-downs and no heat in their tour bus, Buddy wanted to charter a plane for himself & The Crickets...who at that time were Tommy Allsup & Waylon Jennings. Buddy's drummer Carl Bunch had been hospitalized the night before with frost-bitten feet. Not only were they tired, but they had worn the same clothes since the start of the tour and they wanted to get their laundry done (believe it or not!). The Big Bopper had the flu & needed to rest, so Waylon Jennings let him have his seat. Ritchie Valens thought the plane trip sounded a lot better than taking the cold bus too, and flipped a coin with Tommy Allsup for his seat. Ritchie won the toss, and Tommy's seat in the plane. Years later Tommy opened his own club appropriately named "Head's Up". MC/DJ at the event, Bob Hale, also claims to have been the one who had the coin and made the toss. Read this ARTICLE

10. Was the plane called the American Pie?
NO! This is perhaps the most common Buddy-related falsification . The plane had no name and among experienced fans is referred to as the “N3794N” - it’s wing numbers.

11. Where can I find “___” song or “___” CD? is the best updated reference site for listing tracks on commercial CDs. There are approx. 500 (and possibly many more) bootleg Buddy CDs out there.

12. When & where was “___” recorded?
See Recording History on this site.

13. Where can I get Buddy photos/posters? usually has a handful available by auction. Most are not accurate reproductions. Read this ARTICLE

14. Why is there such a lack of Buddy product?
Maria Elena and her licensing management handles Buddy’s likeness licensing. She claims that nothing will be produced that Buddy would not have approved of, or reflects upon him in a negative way (example: alcohol, cigarettes, etc.). As a result, there is very little available.

15. Did Buddy smoke or drink alcohol?
Buddy occasionally smoked. A stomach ulcer prevented Buddy from drinking, and being enlisted in the Army too (along with his bad eye-sight).

16. How bad was Buddy’s eye-sight?

17. Other stats?
Buddy was tall & lanky at 5'11
, and weighed 145 pounds.
For overseas folks, that would be 1,8161 cm (1m82), and 66 kg.
Hair: dark brown
Eyes: brown
Born: Sept. 7th, 1936 to Lawrence & Ella Holley in Lubbock, TX.
One sister Patricia (deceased), two brothers Larry & Travis. His brothers reside in Lubbock, TX
Religion: Fundamentalist Baptist
Hobbies: Leatherwork, water-skiing, hunting, fishing, painting, playing guitar
Favorite Foods: thick steak, fried okra, pizza, peanut butter sandwiches
Favorite Clothes: T-shirt and jeans
Pets: Booker T. (cat) and Alonzo (dog)
High School Girlfriend: Echo McGuire

18. Why didn’t he stay with Echo & what happened to her?
After Graduation, Echo went to school 160 miles from where Buddy was. They got to see each other on most weekends, but they slowly drifted apart. Buddy was soon busy on tour, and she went to College in Nebraska. Echo married on Valentine’s Day of 1958 to Ron Griffith. The couple resides in New Mexico.

19. Did The Crickets sing backup vocals?
No. Three backup groups are featured on Buddy & The Crickets most popular songs:

Gary & Ramona Tollett with Niki Sullivan (That'll Be The Day / Looking For Someone To Love)
The Picks (Oh Boy / Maybe Baby / Tell Me How / You've Got Love / It's Too Late / An Empty Cup / Send Me Some Lovin' / Last Night / Rock Me My Baby) 
The Roses (Think It Over / Fool's Paradise / Lonesome Tears / It's So Easy)

Full info is on each in our "

20. Why don’t they ever show the American Bandstand footage? 
Bill Griggs answers this one: "During the 1970s, Dick Clark told me to my face that "someone" had stolen the Holly-Valens-Bopper clips from his film vault. He didn't say missing, and he didn't say 1960s, he said stolen. Shortly after he had told me that, the Bopper footage showed up on the "Best Of Bandstand" video. Shortly after that, the intro to the Valens footage showed up in "La Bamba". Taylor Hackford has stated that the he and the cast had seen the entire Valens clip while the movie was being made.

During the 1960s, "American Bandstand" featured some flashbacks to the 1950s with vintage tapes. Although I did not see this at the time, I've heard from SEVERAL people that saw Buddy Holly and the Crickets in one of these flashbacks. I fully believe that the tape of this was never put back where it belonged and is still sitting with the 1960s show where it was last used. The other problem is that Dick clark Productions charges $10,000 per minute for use of its tapes. That is the reason that you do not see that Arthur Murray footage as often as you'd like to.

I believe that if someone really researched those 1960s shows, they'd find that Holly footage we all want to see."

Clark also owns an alternate of The Arthur Murray Dance Party “Peggy Sue” footage, but this has not been acknowledged or released either.

21. What was Buddy’s biggest hit?
Billboard claims “That’ll Be The Day” hit #1 in the US. Cashbox says Peggy Sue hit #2. For full chart standings see Chart Positions, which lists all US & UK chart info. Crickets UK chart info is in The Crickets section.

22. What is the best book I can read about Buddy?
“Remembering Buddy” by John Goldrosen & John Beecher. Although not in-depth about the last tour, it is the Buddy story in a nutshell.
Regarding Buddy’s final tour “The Winter Dance Party of 1959”, “The Day The Music Died” by Larry Lehmer is superb. Recently reprinted, you can get a copy from - and get one quick before it is out of print again.
For an in depth account of Buddy's life, check out the five book series by Bill Griggs titled just that "Day By Day", along with his other publications about Buddy & West Texas music.

AVOID Ellis Amburn’s “Buddy Holly - The Biography”.
Unfortunately the most readily available, and most fictional.

23. Did Buddy perform in _____ city?
See “Buddy Info” - Tour Dates on this site

24. Why did Norman Petty overdub The Fireballs instead of The Crickets on Buddy's apartment recordings?
Understandably The Crickets have always felt that the Apartment recordings are somewhat sacred and shouldn't be tampered with, thus they haven't, nor will they, add "Crickets" overdubs to them.

The Fireballs were Petty's latest & greatest discovery at the time and since they were readily available, and The Crickets were not, he used The Fireballs. Petty also might have hoped they would have a hit out of the project somewhere (at the time they hadn't hit the top of the charts yet).

In all, there are 3 versions of the "Apartment Tapes": the raw tapes (Buddy & acoustic); Jack Hansen overdubs (done first in New York with backup vocalists, mono); and then The Fireball/Petty overdubs (no backup vocals, done in Clovis, in stereo).

25. How did The Crickets get their name?
Insect & animal names were just starting to be the "fad" at the time so they sat down and looked through the dictionary...they looked at but passed on "The Beetles" but figured since there were so many crickets around Texas that year (and still are) that "The Crickets" would be appropriate. They figured that name hadn't been taken (but had been by a black group, "Dean Barlow & The Crickets") which later caused the famed "Apollo gig" confusion.

It all worked out great, because at the very end of their Petty Studio recording of "I'm Gonna Love You Too" you can hear a cricket chirp!

26. Is it true that Norman Petty froze Buddy's assets, which forced him to "have to" go on the Winter Dance Party Tour?
Absolute baloney. Buddy had a new single out which he needed to promote, and the Holley Family has stated that for the Christmas of 1958, Buddy bought them all fishing equipment and pretty much bathed them with gifts.

Funds were frozen by Buddy's record company, not Petty. In fact, documented proof shows that Norman Petty was trying to get a bond raised in New York so the frozen funds could be released. On August 11, 1959, Buddy received a check for $3887.93. On August 26, 1958, Buddy received a check for $14,467.74 for royalties. Considering what the standard wage was back then, Buddy was far from penniless. Lawsuit claims over Buddy's money are still happening today, over 50 years after his death. 

27. Is it true that Buddy called Maria using the Surf Ballroom pay-phone?
No. This long-told story was proven false in 2008 when research through library microfilm surfaced a headline page from a New York newspaper with Maria stating in the headline "But he didn't call!". Her claims, and the Surf claims are apparently false, and it wouldn't make sense that Buddy use the public pay-phone, surrounded by teens, when he could have used the office phone.

28. How do I get in touch with the website owner?
For legal inquiries only, send a note to our legal department: E-MAIL
All other mail to this e-mail address will not be replied to - this website is meant to be a reference tool, not interactive.