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Old 12-17-2010, 09:08 AM
3,190 posts, read 4,617,194 times
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His real name was Charles Hardin Holley, but the singer and musician from Lubbock, Texas was known to his millions of adoring fans as Buddy Holly. His last name was mis-spelled "Holly" on a music contract and from then on Buddy spelled it that way. Although his career at the top of the rock and roll heap lasted only about two years, Buddy Holly and the Crickets produced a series of number one hit records that stand the test of time in rock and rolldom.

It was 13 May 1958 and the lads from Lubbock were just coming off an exhausting tour which had taken them to Australia, England and across the U.S.A. It had been an experience of a lifetime touring with the likes of Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everley Brothers, Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids, and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. They were worn out from the long tour, but their pockets were full of cash and they were ready to cut loose and have some fun. Buying new motorcycles was their unanimous choice.

Two years earlier Buddy had seen the Marlon Brando movie, The Wild One, and wanted to be like the Brando character, Johnny. He bought a black leather jacket and a 500cc Triumph which resembled Brando's bike, but didn't keep it very long. The pressures of the music business and constant touring left him little time to ride so he let the bike go. Now, with their pockets full of money and time to themselves, the three rockers had the need for speed and excitement and wanted brand new motorcycles.

Lubbock was a city of 100,000, but Buddy thought they might find a better selection of bikes in Dallas, a much larger city 300 miles away. On their way back to Lubbock from New York on that day in May their plane landed in Dallas. They jumped into an airport taxi and headed to the nearest Harley-Davidson dealership. Buddy wanted a new Harley 74 because big shiny bikes and cars were status symbols among high profile musicians and would also look cool to their teenage fans. Jerry and Joe tended to go along with whatever Buddy wanted so that was their choice too.

The salesman didn't know who they were so he ignored them when they walked into the showroom. They sat on the bikes, joked, laughed, horsed around and were generally having a good time. Eventually, with a sour disapproving look on his face, the salesman came over and gruffly asked what they wanted. Buddy told him they wanted to buy the three new Harley 74's they had been looking at and asked how much for the three of them. The salesman blew them off by walking away and sneering over his shoulder, "You boys couldn't even keep up the payments on three bikes." It didn't occur to him that these West Texas boys might have pockets full of money and he made no effort to find out or sell them anything. Rebuffed by the salesman and fuming with rage, three of the most popular and wealthy rock and roll musicians in the world walked out in disgust.

Our three incensed hero's jumped into another taxi and asked the driver to take them to a British motorcycle dealer, and they didn't care which one so long as it had lots of bikes! The driver, who also didn't know who they were, dropped them off at Miller's Motorcycles, a multi-marque British motorcycle dealer only a few blocks away.

Having just been treated like a bunch of bums, Buddy took no chances this time and introduced himself and his two cohorts to owners Betty and Ray Miller...and showed them a huge wad of cash! Although Betty was a mature woman she was a big fan of rock and roll music and knew who they were the moment they walked in the door. She remembers them as polite and well mannered. She also remembers that they had four or five thousand dollars in cash between them.

Seeing all that cash and sensing that he had the sale of three new motorcycles at his finger tips, Ray generously told the boys to pick out any bikes off the floor they wanted and take them out for as long as they wanted. After trying out just about every bike in the shop for the better part of the day, the choices were finally made.

Buddy settled on a 1958 Ariel Cyclone which had that unique Ariel beige seat. It had high western handlebars and a hotter engine with higher compression pistons, a high-lift Spitfire camshaft and was rated at 40 bhp. It was basically a Huntmaster twin which used BSA's 650cc A10 engine disguised as an Ariel. The flamboyant Cherokee red and black paint job with white striping was designed specifically for the American market and was produced for only one year. According to factory records only 300 were made and all were exported except one.

Drummer Jerry Allison chose a red and white 1958 Triumph TR6A and bass player Joe Mauldin picked a red 1958 Triumph 6T Thunderbird. Buddy also bought some saddle bags for the Cyclone and all three bought gloves and motorcycle caps.

They paid cash for everything, about $3,200., which were big bucks in those days. For Betty, having Buddy, Jerry and Joe in their shop and actually selling motorcycles to them was one her most exciting and memorable days in the motorcycle business.

The trio had their pictures taken on the bikes with Betty and Ray in front of the shop then rode to the nearest JC Penney's department store. They bought Levis jeans, jackets and boots which were more in keeping with the "biker" image than the dress trousers and jackets they were wearing. Now that they looked like real bikers they stuffed their other clothes into Buddy's saddle bags and rode the bikes back to Lubbock.

They had to endure the spring rains for most of the two-day trip and were soaking wet half the time. Despite the rain the three bikes ran flawlessly, and according to Jerry and Joe, they let off a lot of steam and it was some of the most fun the three of them ever had together.

The lads spent the summer tearing up the flat roads around Lubbock and doing some hill climbing and off-roading in the nearby wastelands. Jerry's TR6A would easily do over 100 mph and the speedo was often pegged at that speed. When the three of them weren't breaking every speed limit and traffic law in the area, Buddy and his wife Maria Elena, and Jerry and his wife Peggy Sue did a lot of highway cruising together. Yes, that's the same Peggy Sue who inspired their hit song.

Buddy and the Crickets split up as a group a few months later over the direction their music and careers were going. Buddy was ambitious and wanted to be based in New York where the action was, but the Crickets were comfortable in Lubbock because it was home and they wanted to be based there. It was a friendly split and Jerry and Joe continued as the Crickets with a new lead singer.

Later that year Buddy moved to New York where he formed a new group. It included Waylon Jennings, Buddy's best friend from Lubbock. Jerry and Joe stayed in Lubbock for a time, but eventually moved 100 miles west to Clovis, New Mexico where they were spending a lot of time and doing most of their recording. When not recording and touring they rode their Triumphs every chance they got.

On 3 February 1959, at age 22, Buddy Holly was killed in a tragic plane crash along with Ritchie Valens, "The Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson and the pilot. The Beech Bonanza crashed into an Iowa corn field only a few miles from the airport they had just left.

To many, that was the day the music died.

It was only by chance that Waylon Jennings wasn't on that plane with Buddy. He gave up his seat to J.P. Richardson who had a bad cold and was freezing half to death because the tour bus was having heater problems. The last words Buddy and Waylon ever exchanged was silly bantering between two very good friends. They were just boarding the plane when Waylon told Buddy he was giving up his seat to J.P and headed back to the bus.

Buddy shouted after him tauntingly, "I hope you freeze to death!"
Waylon shot back laughingly, "I hope your plane crashes!"

That last remark would haunt Waylon Jennings for the rest of his life.

After Buddy died, Jerry and Joe sold their bikes and never went back to motorcycling again. Buddy's father kept his Cyclone until 15 September 1970 when it was sold to a Texas collector.

In 1979 Jerry and Joe bought the bike back and gave it to Waylon Jennings (who was now a country music superstar) as a birthday present. The Crickets were on tour with Jennings and they had the bike secretly trucked to their hotel. They smuggled it into Jennings' hotel room where they tied balloons and happy birthday signs to it. When Jennings returned to his room after the show around midnight he was greeted by a surprise birthday party.

He knew whose bike it was the moment he saw it and was thrilled beyond words. He jumped onto the saddle and gave the kick starter a good stomp just for the hell of it. To his surprise the bike roared to life and he cranked the throttle a few times, much to the displeasure of the sleeping hotel guests. The bike was serviced and ready for the road when it was delivered to the hotel, but no one ever expected Waylon to actually try to start it!

After he got the bike back to his home in Nashville, Waylon rode the Cyclone a few times but he was uneasy on it. Something didn't feel just right and something told him to park it. Maybe he just wasn't a good rider; maybe it was the ghost of Buddy Holly sending him a message. Whatever the reason, he never rode it again and donated the Ariel to Johnny Cash's Nashville museum where it has remained on permanent loan ever since.

In the summer of 2000 Waylon and his wife, singer Jessie Colter, relocated from Nashville, Tennessee to Scottsdale, Arizona because of Jennings’ failing health. An estate sale was held at the Jennings’ Brentwood home in Nashville from 28-30 December 2000 to clear large items such as cars, furniture and various pieces of memorabilia. Included in the sale is Buddy's rare 1958 Ariel Cyclone for which Jennings has had an offer of $750,000. According to a Nashville newspaper report a Jennings spokesman said Waylon is going to hold out for a better price if he can get it.

The fate of the historic motorcycle remains to be seen.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:55 AM
Location: On the dark side of the Moon
9,932 posts, read 12,945,740 times
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^Loved it!
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