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Buddy Holly threw convention aside

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Many music fans know Buddy Holly as an early rock-and-roll hero who died in a plane crash at age 22. Fewer know that he was a rabid innovator, forming the first band to develop vertical integration in the music industry by writing, recording, performing and marketing its own songs.

Some examples of Holly’s genius:

In high school, his band hosted a radio show on KDAV-AM in Lubbock, TX.

He was an inventive composer, transfixing such young contemporaries as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan with irresistible tunes, including “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue.”

He marketed his band fiercely, offering “free samples” when it couldn’t find a paying gig.

He went back to the drawing board. With assistance from his sound engineer, Holly experimented with sound effects, pioneering in double-tracking and overdubbing, as well as trying unusual instruments.

Holly’s delivery was just as innovative. He added a “hiccup” to his vocal stylings and inserted a clipped “uh” in the middle of words to add emphasis, which became a wildly popular technique for 50 years.

Even Holly’s personal style became influential. The Beatles named themselves in tribute to his band, the Crickets.

Bottom line: Fire in the belly got Buddy Holly into the inaugural class at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

—Adapted from “His Vision Will Not Fade Away,” J. Bonasia, Investor’s Business Daily.

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