Today marks 50 years since Buddy Holly was killed in a 'plane crash along with Ritchie Valens and 'the Big Bopper' J P Richardson. Famously described by Don McLean as the day the music died in 'American Pie', it was the first headline-grabbing example of a tragedy in the rock/pop industry.
It's hard to say how much influence Holly had on pop music, and a huge "what if" had he survived. Suffice it to say that the Rolling Stones first hit was a Holly song (Not Fade Away), Paul McCartney owns the back catalogue and he provided the world with the first truly iconic pictures of a Fender Strat being used for rock 'n' roll. He was also a pioneer of artists being involved in writing their own songs and in the production of their own recordings.
Although the movie of his life makes it all rather instant, Holly also eventually won over black audiences in New York at a time when music was highly segregated.
Who knows what might have been, if the pilot of the plane had been more cautious, or if they had caught the bus with the rest of the tour. We just have some great songs and some grainy TV images, like this clip with a brilliantly dated intro. The sound quality is awful, partly due to it all being picked up by boom mics out of sight of the camera.