Buddy Holly: Rave On

Buddy Holly: Rave On


As pop stars go, he was no obvious sex symbol, with his dorky looks and horn-rims – or he doesn’t seem it to us now. But one of the surprises in this wonderful documentary is how lean and cool Buddy Holly looks in the few precious home movies he appears in. Amazingly, it was less than 18 months between topping the charts with his first hit That’ll Be the Day (inspired, his drummer recalls, by John Wayne in The Searchers) and his death in a plane crash aged 22.

“But boy, he changed the world in that time,” sighs Brian May, who does a great breakdown of things Holly did as a guitarist that nobody had done before. Elsewhere, Don McLean, Duane Eddy, Robert Wyatt and Buddy’s widow cast light on an incredible songbook and a brief moment in pop culture that won’t fade away.


Rock 'n' roll started with Elvis, but some believe that pop music started with Buddy Holly and the Crickets. As a songwriter, Holly revolutionised the genre by introducing dynamic new rhythms and unpredictable melodies beyond its traditional blues roots. In his songs written and recorded in the late '50s, it is already possible to hear the beat group sound of the 1960s, and beyond. This documentary tells the story of Holly's tragically short life and career through interviews with those who knew him and worked with him. Contributors include Don McLean, Paul Anka, Don Everly, Hank Marvin and Bob Harris.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Don McLean
Contributor Paul Anka
Contributor Don Everly
Contributor Hank Marvin
Contributor Bob Harris
Director George Scott
Producer Celia Moore
Producer Nick de Grunwald
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Documentary Music