Pioneering rock 'n' roll musician Charles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy Holly, was born in Lubbock, Texas on September 7, 1936. He died in 1959 in a plane crash in Iowa. The youngest of four children of Lawrence and Ella (Drake) Holley, Buddy became one of the greatest legends of rock music.
His father worked as a tailor and salesman in a Lubbock clothing store, and though Lawrence did not play an instrument, he and Buddy's mom encouraged their children's musical skills.
At age five, Buddy appeared with his brothers in a talent show in the neighboring town of County Line. They won five dollars singing Down the River of Memories. At age eleven Buddy took piano lessons, but quit after nine months. He started studying steel guitar, but eventually taught himself to play on acoustic guitar. At Hutchinson Junior High he and a friend, Bob Montgomery, formed a country music duo that later performed rock-and-roll music.
In the autumn of 1953, the duo added bass player Larry Welborn and started playing weekly on Lubbock radio station KDAV. The program was called Sunday Party. At Lubbock High, Holly studied printing and drafting. He also worked part-time at Panhandle Steel Products. He stayed focused on his dream, however, of making his living as a musician.
In 1954 and 1955 the band made some demo records in Wichita Falls, but in 1956 Decca offered only Buddy a contract. Decca tried to turn him into a country artist. Two unsuccessful singles later, the label and Buddy parted ways.