Buddy Holly Goes Speed Metal!

Lubbock rockabilly rebel gives the finger to The Man/Ed Sullivan.

Buddy Holly Goes Speed Metal!

LEMMY'S LOVE OF Buddy Holly has been well-documented. After all, the Motörhead frontman spent his formative years in Anglesey learning the guitar by listening to Holly's melodic Stratocaster fills and solos on Rave On and Peggy Sue Got Married. However, thanks to a recent post on exemplary pop culture website boingboing.net, we can now add another reason for Mr. Kilmister's admiration: the late Lubbock spex-rocker invented speed metal. On January 26, 1958, Holly and the Crickets made their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It would prove to be their last. The group planned to perform recent hit Oh, Boy but the famously conservative Sullivan ordered the group to replace the up-beat rocker with a slow ballad. Tempers frayed. Sullivan cut the Crickets' spot from two songs to one, and (purposefully?) mispronounced the group's name as "Buddy Hollett and his Crickets." The line feed for Holly's electric guitar was also muted.

But, boy, does Holly compensate. Singing loud and rough over Joe Mauldin and Jerry Allison's raw bass and drums, the singer repeatedly turns up the volume on his guitar, playing faster and faster. Holly's cocky sneer is pure punk but, following a brilliant primal howl at 1:02, the singer goes into a headbanging machine-gun solo that, whilst not exactly Ace Of Spades, is both one of the earliest (and best) examples of rock'n'roll rebellion in the face of corporate America and an eerily out-of-time moment of sonic creation, where emotional circumstance and technological limitations conspire to give birth to a new kind of music.

Ironically, the performance was so well received that Sullivan invited the group back for a third time. Holly told Sullivan that they couldn't afford him.