Who Inspired Elton John to Wear Crazy Glasses?

Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock Texas

Buddy Holly. His basic need-to-see glasses impressed Elton John with the need-to-be-seen. They’re the model for hipsters today, whether they know it or it.

His professional career lasted only 18 months, but in that time Holly literally influenced the Beatles and Stones, among others of course. The first song that the Stones recorded was his: Not Fade Away. Paul McCartney and John Lennon skipped school to write songs in Buddy’s style and finally landed on one with Love Me Do.

These were all discoveries to me, learned at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock Texas.

The Day the Music Died

Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens were on a charter plane together, coming home from a gig. The plane crashed, killing them all and the pilot, and became known as the Day the Music Died. We all know that the song American Pie by Don McLean is about that, but he never overtly said that it was. It was both about this crash and the passing of his father; and he was stunned and delighted when radio stations connected the dots of their own volition and played Buddy Holly songs back-to-back with American Pie.

Holly’s iconic glasses were incredibly recovered at the crash site, and they’re on display at the Center, along with his guitar, and childhood report cards.

A Fast Learner

Buddy’s brother introduced him to the guitar, and quickly he outpaced his sibling. His mother said “it was a shame that he wasn’t so quick in applying himself to arithmetic and spelling.”

An Innovator

In his one-and-a-half years of a professional career he had four top-twenty songs:

Buddy also assembled the first prototype rock and roll band, and was among the first–if not THE first–to tweak the mics for each instrument. He saw them not just as a means to record, but as a means to impact and shape the sound. Techniques still used today are because of his curiosity.


What was your first record? Your first concert?

Besides children’s albums like Schoolhouse Rocks, Sesame Street Sings, and Free to Be You and Me, mine was a Barry Manilow album (I don’t remember which one). I wanted him to sing at my wedding and belonged to his fan club. I even had an 8×10 glossy photo. Yup.

My first concert was the Genesis Invisible Touch Tour.

Disclosure: Thank you to the Lubbock Tourism Office for the complimentary ticket to the museum.

4 Responses


My friends were more rock idol savvy than I was. Never cared much for Elvis. My first gen-u-ine concert was probably when I took my daughter to Billy Joel. Definitely liked his music but wasn’t prepared for the noisy, crowded concert scene with the performer so far away. I guess we didn’t have good seats! Music tastes developed in college where I was exposed both to Streisand and to classical. Still think she’s terrific and prefer symphony over “concert”.


Genesis was one of my first concerts, too. Although, it was the Abacab tour. Happy Holidays!

Casey – Kindred spirits!


First album – Terremce Trent D’arby (sign your name … I think). First concert U2.

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