One of Lubbock's most influential sons draws people to the Hub City from all around the globe. That is, of course, Buddy Holly.
"We actually have an entire Buddy Holly tour that is set up for Lubbock," Visit Lubbock Director of Communication Abie Cox said.
He revolutionized rock-and-roll, and today Buddy Holly's legacy is recognized throughout the world and right here in Lubbock. Buddy Holly came into the world as Charles Hardin Holley, Holley spelled with an 'E', back on September 7, 1936.
"His birth place is actually right in the middle of the new Wal-Mart on 4th and Q, so we can take you in Wal-Mart and show you exactly where his house sat," Cox said.
Holly's parents moved to the Hub City from Vernon, Texas 11-years prior. "Buddy Holly's family moved around a lot, and so we have a tour of all the homes that he lived in. We can show you where he grew up and the streets that he played basketball on, hung out in front of the house and waived at Peggy Sue when she drove by," Cox said.
Many of Buddy Holly's old hang-outs still stand in Lubbock, including the old Lawson Roller Rink on 3rd and University. "It's a fascinating place when you look around and start seeing what's available," Lubbock Municipal Museum Curator Eddy Grigsby said.
Holly married his wife Maria Elena at his parent's home back in August of 1958. Six months later, the world mourned "the day the music died" when Holly's plane went down in Iowa during a snow storm.
People from around the world come to Holly's grave stone at the Lubbock Cemetery to honor the legend. That Experience grew with the opening of the Buddy Holly Center at 19th and Crickets Avenue. "We have about 40,000 overall that come to the Buddy Holly Center, and a portion of those are international or out of state travelers that actually come in just to see Buddy Holly," Grigsby said.
The mayor of Fairfield, Australia came to Lubbock, and he was in the states in Boston for a conference and he decided he was so close to Lubbock that he might as well come on by, and we did a two day tour with him and all he wanted to see was Buddy Holly," Cox said.
"It used to really surprise me when you would talk to someone, and they'd have an accent and so you would ask, ‘where are you from?' They'd let you know that they're from the U.K., and they're just here for the day; they'd actually plan their flight to stop in Lubbock on their way to L.A. just for the day to see the Buddy Holly Center, Buddy's Holly's birth place, his home town," Grigsby said.
At the center, you can see a pair of Holly's original, signature frames. "A lot of people don't realize that we have his glasses; there were only two things that survived the plane crash, and that was the black box of the plane and his glasses," Cox said.
Most fans want come to see Holly's guitar. "A lot of it is the Fender Strata Caster, a lot of people want to make sure that we have it, and that's what they want to see are the musical instruments of Buddy Holly. That's what he did his magic with," Grigsby said.
While Buddy Holly brings them in, many tourists stick around to see what else the Hub City has to offer. "People don't realize our ranging culture, and they come here and they love it because they can still see a cowboy and a horse, and so that drives it from the music to the history," Cox said.
To be the curator of this collection, it's pretty amazing," Grigsby said.
"Generations and future generations will really be influenced by Buddy Holly, and we're very honored to have that right here in Lubbock," Cox said.
February 2009 will mark the 50th anniversary of the day Buddy Holly's plane crashed in Iowa. Visit Lubbock tells us they're already planning special events to honor Holly's legacy.
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