Among the benefits I find of being a cynic and a wise ass are that I’m extremely comfortable with learning how wrong I can be, and I am really good at heartfelt apologies. In light of comfirmation that The Day the Music Died was a page 66-worthy news item in The New York Times, although I have not reached that point in my cycle of cynicism, I do think it’s important that we reach consensus on the following sincere and positive question:
What is the most enduring aspect of Buddy Holly’s legacy?
- Is it the jangly guitar chords?
- Is it his light touch in straddling all the building blocks of rock ‘n roll: blues, country, pop, Tex-Mex, Tin Pan Alley…?
- Is it his Look? Did any teen musical sensation dare perform in glasses before Holly?
- Is it the mythology that followed his untimely death?
- Maybe this is closely related to the above, but is it his role in illustrating the mortality of budding rock-teen culture?
- Is it something else?
Answers such as, It’s all about the music, mannnnnnn! or All of the above won’t do. We need to determine THE most enduring aspect of the man’s legacy…once and for all.
As you think about this, can you also consider the following question: Would Holly have been able to shuck off the cheesy string arrangements that were already creeping into his records and extend his musical genius into the new decade, or would he have fallen prey to the same factors that stamped an Expiration Date on many of his contemporaries as the times they were-a-changin’? If he had lived and made the transition, he would have been the first of the Mount Rushmore of ’50s rockers to have done this, right?