Buddy Holly (born Charles Hardin Holley, September 7, 1936, Lubbock, TX–d. February 3, 1959, Clear Lake, IA) was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He made his first appearance on local television in 1952, and the following year he formed the group "Buddy and Bob" with his friend Bob Montgomery. In 1955, after opening for Elvis Presley, he decided to pursue a career in music. He opened for Presley three times that year; his band's style shifted from country and western to entirely rock and roll. In October that year, when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets, he was spotted by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall, who helped him get a contract with Decca Records.
Holly's recording sessions at Decca were produced by Owen Bradley. Unhappy with Bradley's control in the studio and with the sound he achieved there, he went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico, and recorded a demo of "That'll Be the Day", among other songs. Petty became the band's manager and sent the demo to Brunswick Records, which released it as a single credited to "The Crickets", which became the name of Holly's band. In September 1957, as the band toured, "That'll Be the Day" topped the US "Best Sellers in Stores" chart and the UK Singles Chart. Its success was followed in October by another major hit, "Peggy Sue".
After a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, he chartered an airplane to travel to his next show, in Moorhead, Minnesota. Soon after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing him, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson in a tragedy later referred to by Don McLean as "The Day the Music Died".