Buddy Holly was only 22 years-old, and produced a body of work that remains staggering in quality and scope. Listing all the songs he recorded is completely unneccesary, but the fact that he is remembered so vividly speaks to his accomplishments. But in reflecting on Buddy’s legacy, think of what was in his tragically abbreviated future.
He had already begun swinging his sound away from three-chord Rock and Roll with songs like “True Love Ways”, and showed he could do nearly anything musically. Had Buddy lived, I envision him becoming a true pioneer and mogul. Much like Paul McCartney has become. Still writing and producing but also still playing and singing. A real Rock and Roll fantasy of mine would be Holly and McCartney “unplugged”. Can you imagine?
As for Ritchie Valens, I suspect he would have reverted to his full surnmae of Valenzeula at some point in his career. Beating John “Cougar” Mellencamp to the punch by a few decades. Valens connection to his heritage was strong and proud and his rendition of “La Bamba” was just a forecast of what he might have done.A kid from Pacoima, California who made good and got very famous–very fast. I suspect Valens might have done a lot for Hispanic rockers long before things eventually happened for acts like Los Lobos.
The Big Bopper I’m sure would have owned a chain of radio stations and continued to tour occasionally. Bopper already had a vision of music as a visual image, and was already talking about how to make mini movies of individual songs. At the time of his passing, he already had plans for a studio and production company on the table. When you think about his limited musical output, hs tunes were tailor-made for video. “Chantilly Lace” is a bonanza for video.
Buddy also had plans for a production company, and his own record company called “Taupe Records”. So before we mourn and relive the past, I always like to think what might have been. Even if only for a moment…..