Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959) known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Elder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations inspired and influenced contemporary and later musicians, notably The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. Holly was among the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Holly #13 among "The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time".
Charles Hardin Holley was born on September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A. to Lawrence Odell and Ella Pauline (Drake) Holley. Holly was always called "Buddy" by his family. Older brothers Travis and Larry taught their sibling to play a variety of instruments including the guitar, 4-string banjo and lap steel guitar. At the age of five, his young voice and exuberance won him a talent contest singing a then-popular song, "Have You Ever Gone Sailing (Down the River of Memories)." In 1949, still retaining his soprano, he recorded a bluesy solo rendering of Hank Snow's "My Two Timin' Woman" on a wire recorder borrowed by a friend who worked in a music shop.
In 1952, he met Bob Montgomery at Hutchinson Junior High School. They shared an interest in music and teamed up as "Buddy and Bob". Initially influenced by bluegrass music, they sang harmony duets at local clubs and high school talent shows. The duo performed on a local radio station KDAV Sunday broadcast that made them a top local act. Hutchinson Junior High School now has a mural honoring Holly, and Lubbock High School, where he sang in the school choir, also honors the late musician.