That’ll Be The Day: Interview With Jerry Allison, Drummer for Buddy Holly

On February 3, 1959 a cold wintery day that music died – Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and other died when a plane crashed after taking off from Clear Lake, Iowa.

I’m reprinting my interview with The Drummer of The Crickets. The interview originally appeared in ESOTERIA-LAND, which is now out of print.

THAT’LL BE THE DAY
An Interview With Jerry Allison Of Buddy Holly & The Crickets
By Michael McCarty

When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll legends, few have been as influential or so deserving of accolades as Buddy Holly.
Jerry Allison, the drummer of The Crickets, pounded the skins on such classics as “That’ll Be the Day” (which he co-wrote with Holly), “Oh Boy,” “It’s So Easy,” “Peggy Sue” (another song he co-wrote), “Well…All Right,” “Maybe Baby,” “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Everyday,” and “Rave On.”
I talked with Allison on the phone about Holly and his legacy, and here is what we discussed….

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(A photo of Buddy Holly & The Crickets)

MICHAEL McCARTY: With the tribute CD and TNN special, and the stamp released a few years ago, do you think Buddy Holly is finally getting the recognition he deserves?

JERRY ALLISON: I think so. Buddy was really a good rocker and he influenced a lot of people. I think it’s good he’s getting this recognition. And I hope he gets a lot more (laughs).

McCARTY: Are you pleased with the CD?

ALLISON: I think it’s really good. Nobody tried to do the exact same arrangements. I’m really proud to be part of it.

McCARTY: You co-wrote “That’ll Be the Day.” How did that song come about?

ALLISON: Buddy and I were sitting around just practicing. He was playing the guitar and I was playing the drums. He said we ought to write a song, because we never wrote one together before. We saw the John Wayne movie, The Searchers, a few days before that. John Wayne said, “That’ll be the day” about five times in that movie. It was a catchy saying in the film. And when Buddy said, let’s write a song – I said, ‘That’ll be the day!” and he said, “That’s a good idea.”

McCARTY: There have been a lot of covers of Buddy Holly songs over the years. What are some of your favorites?

ALLISON: “Not Fade Away” by The Rolling Stones is great. I really like Linda Ronstadt’s ‘That’ll Be the Day,” Blind Faith’s “Well…All Right” – that was good. Waylon Jennings did a medley of songs on his Always Be Crazy album – I played the drums and Sonny Curtis played guitar.

McCARTY: Have you heard the band Weezer’s song, “Buddy Holly”?

ALLISON: No, I haven’t. I saw a little bit of the video once. I live in the country here in Tennessee. This isn’t exactly Weezer country here (laughs).

McCARTY: Is Paul McCartney, who owns the rights to Buddy Holly’s catalog, doing a good job preserving Buddy’s songs?

ALLISON: I think he’s doing a great job. He has had a Buddy Holly Week for the last twenty years. He’s doing a great job keeping the interest up. There’s a lot of interest this year because of the CD and TV show. But a lot of years, there wasn’t anything shaking. But Paul would always have some sort of deal to keep people interested.

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(Photo of Jerry Allison)

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