On March 22nd 1958, Buddy Holly & The Crickets' tour bus rolled into Salisbury, Wiltshire in the South West of England. The tour ran from the 1st March through the 25th March with shows in different towns every day. Three and a half weeks solid touring, covering everywhere from London to Newcastle to Cardiff and everywhere in between.
It would prove to be Buddy's only UK tour.
On March 22nd 2018, to celebrate 60 years since the show at the Gaumont Theatre, the British Plaque Trust unveiled a blue plaque to mark the event. BBC Wiltshire hosted the day which included live music from us, some fascinating talks on the Wiltshire music scene of the 50s and 60s from local historians, plus a screening of the extended version of the great documentary Buddy Holly: Rave On. (If you can find it online give it a watch. By far the best film about Buddy I've seen, including a typically upbeat Jerry Allison, heartbreaking interviews with Larry Holley, and rare insights from Dion, Paul Anka, Brian May and Maria Elena amongst many others).
Fans of Buddy from all over the country had travelled to be there. It was great to see so many people to whom that tour had meant so much. Several people brought along memorabilia from the Salisbury show, including signed programmes and photographs as well as their memories. (Thanks to Ian for the badges!)
Throughout the morning, we played several Buddy songs (along with an impromptu cover of Elvis's Hound Dog for a BBC Wiltshire phone-in competition!) in the incredible medieval lobby of what is now an Odeon cinema. We took a very basic set-up consisting of a couple of acoustic guitars, a telecaster, a bass, a snare drum and cymbal.
We couldn't do a set of Buddy songs without playing Peggy Sue. The two-tone drum sound was acheived by Dan taping an Odeon 'What's On' brochure to half of the snare. He spent the whole morning pummelling Jennifer Lawrence in the face (which, ironically, is the entire plot of Red Sparrow).
Here's Peggy Sue as filmed by our resident camerawoman Sally. Sally is available to film any event - weddings, parties, bar mitzvahs - all from behind a man's head.
We finished the set with a cover of Heartbeat recorded by Buddy in 1957 and written by Buddy's oldest recording partner from the 'Buddy and Bob' days, Bob Montgomery. Bob's son, Kevin was in Salisbury for the unveiling of the blue plaque and it was great to see him there.
We suffered a mild stage-invasion from a local man who actually provided some pretty solid backing vocals. All very enjoyable!
Trustee of the British Plaque Trust, DJ Mike Read was on hand to read out a message from Maria Elena Holly and reveal the plaque. We felt very proud to have been invited to celebrate the day with people who were there in 1958. We're massive fans of Buddy, so it's a real honour to be called on to represent him in this way.
Big thanks as always to Peter Bradley Jr from the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation for having us along.
As a little bonus for you all... we rehearsed at Bluejays HQ South last week (minus Dan who was away in Barcelona wooing a lady). Here's Well... All Right which was the B-Side to Heartbeat in 1958.