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Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly [Hardcover]

John Gribbin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 2009
Buddy Holly was killed at 22 when the plane he was travelling in crashed on 3 February 1959. Although this was less than two years after Holly's first hit record, Don McLean described this as 'the day the music died.' But Sonny Curtis, Holly's friend and musical colleague, told us that the music didn't die, because 'Buddy Holly lives every time you play rock'n'roll.' Fifty years after Holly's death, his lasting influence is clear; a musical based on his life seems set to run for longer than his lifetime and artists as diverse as Blink 182 and Bob Dylan call him an inspiration.The Beatles chose That'll Be the Day by Buddy's group The Crickets as their first attempt at recording, as well as taking the idea for their name. Clearly, the music didn't die!John Gribbin, an ardent fan since he was twelve, presents this labour of love written in the spirit of Sonny Curtis' lyric, as a celebration of Holly's all too brief life, and as an introduction,for all those not around in 1959, to the man and his astonishing musical legacy. "Not Fade Away" also includes - uniquely - a full and detailed account of every Holly recording session, which any Buddy fan will devour.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184831034X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848310346
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Buddy Holly and The Crickets had an electrifying effect on us as young
lads in Liverpool. We were inspired to learn guitar by seeing him on
television and listening to his records. That'll Be The Day blew our
minds and Lord knows how long we took trying to learn the opening riff.
His guitar and vocal style was massively influential on us as writers
and players and things would definitely not have been the same without
his huge talent. Love ya' Buddy!

P.S. The name of his band The Crickets also influenced our choice of
band name so those boys have a lot to answer for!" -- Paul McCartney

'Buddy Holly and The Crickets had an electrifying effect on us as young lads in Liverpool. We were inspired to learn guitar by seeing him on television and listening to his records. That'll Be The Day blew our minds and Lord knows how long we took trying to learn the opening riff. His guitar and vocal style was massively influential on us as writers and players and things would definitely not have been the same without his huge talent. Love ya' Buddy!

P.S. The name of his band The Crickets also influenced our choice of band name so those boys have a lot to answer for!' -- Paul McCartney

Review

"Buddy Holly and The Crickets had an electrifying effect on us as young
lads in Liverpool. We were inspired to learn guitar by seeing him on
television and listening to his records. That'll Be The Day blew our
minds and Lord knows how long we took trying to learn the opening riff.
His guitar and vocal style was massively influential on us as writers
and players and things would definitely not have been the same without
his huge talent. Love ya' Buddy!

P.S. The name of his band The Crickets also influenced our choice of
band name so those boys have a lot to answer for!"


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By The Country Grumpkin VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was a little surprised but delighted to see this handsome little book in my local Waterstone's bookshop at the weekend.

John Gribbin, a self-confessed Holly fan of long standing clearly has a deep knowledge and love of Buddy's music, and has done his research thoroughly for what may well turn out to be the book of choice for anyone seeking an introduction to the story of Buddy Holly, his impact on the music scene at the time (and since) - notably in Britain - and his lasting, extraordinary musical legacy. His stated aim is not to compete with any of the existing books, but a celebration of Buddy's short life through focussing on his music, and the influences that made him the musician he was. This focus is a welcome change from for example, the seemingly agenda-driven, error-strewn and fanciful assertions that marred the Ellis Amburn book of a few years back. A number of more worthwhile sources are credited, in particular the Philip Norman and Goldrosen/Beecher books, though there is no reference to Bill Griggs's work.

The book is an easy read with an engaging narrative: the context of life in small-town Lubbock, the influence of religion on the community, and the prevailing hard times for Buddy's family set the scene for his musical development, including his formative years, his early disappointments, and eventual (probably inevitable) if rather brief period of stardom - by which time he was a seasoned stage performer - and ending with the final, fateful tour and plane crash are entertainingly covered in the first 171 pages. All the main people in Buddy's life, the recording sessions, TV appearances and tours including Australia and Britain are covered, if briefly.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of rock 'n' roll 7 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover
Although Holly died several years before I was even born, his music has always held a fascination for me. The fact that he influenced so many people, from The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan to Blink 182 and Weezer is something pretty special, and this is an absorbing introduction into his life and music.

It's obvious the author, John Gribbin, is a devoted fan, providing his account with an enthusiasm that is catching. As he says, at the age of 22 and 5 months (the age Holly died), Lennon had just had his first number one single and first album with The Beatles...the way Lennon's career developed gives a hint as to what a talent like Holly's might have achieved.

With an account of every recording session and a small photo-plate section this is a fascinating insight into the man who produced such enduring classics as That'll Be the Day, Maybe Baby, Peggy Sue and Brown Eyed Handsome Man. A stylish and brilliant book to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a great man.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful surprise 16 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most of the books I read are connected with science, and I'm a long-time fan of John Gribbin's work. But I also listen to 50s & 60s music for relaxation, so it came as a big surprise to find that Gribbin had written a biography of Buddy Holly. I opened it up with some trepidation -- what could a science writer know about Buddy Holly? -- but I was hooked from the first paragraph, where Gribbin establishes his credentials as a 13-year -old fan of Holly in 1959. This book is a delight, clearly a labour of love from somebody who knows just about everything there is to know about the man and his music. Gribbin's passion for his subject shines through, and Holly himself comes across as a likeable young man driven by his passion for music. I especially liked the way Gribbin explains the roots of Holly's music, in terms of bluegrass, country and western, and R&B. He rightly doesn't dwell too long on Holly's tragic early death, but moves on to describe his continuing influence on the music there after right up to the present day. This is definitely the best rock biography I have ever read. Maybe Gribbin should give up the science and concentrate on this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddy Holly: a fresh perspective 26 Feb 2009
Format:Hardcover
John Gribbin's excellent book 'Not Fade Away' provides a fresh perspective on the life and music of Buddy Holly which should be welcome to even the most avid and knowledgable fan.
This is the first book, at least of which I am aware, which details the complete recording history of Buddy's works. Every recording session and the details of the product of each session is skilfully interwoven into the narrative so that a much clearer sense and feeling for the chronology of Buddy's brief but prolific musical output is achieved.
Some startling facts are brought into sharp focus; how young the principal players were; how many other musicians were in Buddy's orbit; how few (three) USA top ten hits Buddy had both during his life and posthumously. Further, that the use of orchestration on Buddy's recordings was chronologically a recent phenomenon - yet an enduring and influential one.
After fifty years one might be forgiven for thinking that little new could emerge; in terms of raw data that may be true. Although I have been a Buddy fan for more than those fifty years I felt I learned a lot contextually from this fine book.
Highly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not fade away 22 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
I have been a lifelong Holly fan and learned more about Buddy's music and his recording history from this book than any other. An obvious labour of love on the author's part. Accounts of Buddy's untimely and tragic death still leave a lump in the throat 50 years on. A fascinating read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Incorrect Product Description. Nothing new
I already have several Buddy Holly biographies but decided to add this one because it promised to concentrate on the music, rather than re-hash the familiar biographical details... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Partisan
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Fade Away.
I bought this book for my husband, who is an ardent Buddy Holly fan. He found the book full of information, regarding the life of this great Rock and Roll Star, which was not in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pat
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Lovely book that follows Buddy's recordings. My only issue was it was too short, I was enjoying a lot. Recommended.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
been listening to a bit of Buddy holly and treated myself to this when i got my kindle and really enjoyed it - he had a tremendous work ethic and drive and one can only think of... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jock McTavish
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read- filled in the missing gaps
I was fortunate enough to see Buddy Holly live at Doncaster Gaumont Theatre and still feel cheated by his tragic early death. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Alex M
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
Even though I didn't buy this book on Amazon, I have read it and I have to say it's one of the best books I've ever read. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2011 by Sivle Yelserp
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite good enough.
The content of this book is quite good - as a Buddy fan for 50 years, I am quite happy about that.
The main disappointment was that quality of the "book" itself. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2011 by Leslie Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars Short put Good Introduction
If like me you're interested in Buddy Holly you find this book provides a great and affectionate introduction to Buddy's life. Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2010 by Hagrid's Umbrella
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Fade Away
I have many books about Buddy Holly and I bought this one with no expectations. I was quite surprised when I read it. Read more
Published on 1 Dec 2009 by T. J. Buttle
4.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely book by a true fan
I don't often write reviews, but I found this little tome delightful.
It has been written by a life-long fan from his own perspective and is an ideal entry into the world of... Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2009 by HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV)
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