Sixty years ago, on February 3, 1959, Rock ’n’ Roll – and the world – lost its brightest star.
The unparalleled catalogue of music that Buddy Holly left behind has entertained, inspired and moved every subsequent generation to laughter, tears and an irrepressible desire to dance!
To commemorate Buddy’s anniversary and to celebrate the joy he has brought millions of people worldwide, the country’s first and best-loved Buddy Holly act, Buddy Holly and The Cricketers, plays a very special show at Eastwood Park Theatre on February 10.
Buddy Holly and The Cricketers is a dynamic show featuring authentic arrangements, driving rhythms, energetic performances and skilled musicianship that has audiences dancing in the aisles.
It has been delighting audiences for 26 years and has performed in many locations around the world including Europe and a tour of the US.
The show stars some of the finest actor-musicians in the UK, including Jason Shaw as Buddy, and was endorsed as Britain’s most popular Buddy Holly act when the show appeared on BBC One’s The One and Only, with Graham Norton notably commenting that they were “Buddy Brilliant”.
The show has always presented Buddy in the style of show they feel he would perform today. Authentic arrangements, driving rhythms, energetic performances and wonderful musicianship, all delivered with charm and humour.
The show’s producer Simon Fielder first got involved with the music of Buddy Holly when he picked up the guitar.
“Buddy Holly was pivotal in my development as a guitarist and songwriter. When I started playing guitar in pubs I learnt a couple of Buddy songs,” he said. “I think they were Rave On and Peggy Sue Got Married.
“My first real involvement was when I was cast in Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, on tour and then in the West End.
“It was great fun. I made some lifelong friends there and it was a real thrill seeing audiences on their feet and dancing every night.”
Buddy’s music has touched the heart of millions around the world and influenced many famous artists such as The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Brian May and many others.
“His voice is incredible,” Simon agreed. He manages to get humour, passion, sadness and love into his vocals in a way unlike any other performer I know.
“His songs still sound fresh today and there is no-one in the history of pop music who produced such a number of truly great songs in such a short period of time.
“Buddy turned rock and roll into pop music. He sings about falling in and out of love with such honesty and feeling that the songs chime with all folk of all ages.
“He was a great lyricist and had an extraordinary knack of writing really catchy tunes. He came across as a true gentleman and a funny, genuinely likeable, down to earth person.”
It’s been almost 30 years since Simon produced his first Buddy show.
“It was in November 1992 and it was terrifying!”he recalled. “When we started, it was just me and four good mates on the road, having a great time making audiences laugh and dance in equal measure.
“We had our own little gang and, for the first time as a performer, there was nobody in charge telling us what we could and couldn’t do.
“It was our show and we mixed improvised comedy with the music to make sure that each night was different, a unique party where the audience felt very much a part of the action.
“We made something, that worked just as well here as it did in the Middle East, Europe or the USA. The audiences in America were wild – their energy and enthusiasm was extraordinary!
“We were welcomed wherever we went, given civic receptions and, particularly in the Midwest, were seen as slightly exotic and rare creatures by people who had never ventured outside their state and, possibly, their town.”
The band has a great deal of energy and puts a great deal into their performances.
“There are five really top class actor-musicians who can ad-lib with the audience as well as play the songs superbly,” Simon continued.
“There is no other Buddy Holly act that can do this.
“Although Buddy is the star of the show, the audience get to know all the boys in the band and, in the foyer afterwards, can chat and have their pictures taken with them.
“When we created the show, we wanted it to be the closest thing you could get to seeing Buddy on stage now, if he were still touring.
“We tried to capture his humour – and he loved telling jokes on stage: he wrote to his mum to say that the compere (Des O’Connor) had given him a joke and that he had got ‘a bigger laugh than the comedian’!
“We decided that Buddy’s show would be him and the band engaging with the audience and playing the music with passion and energy.
“That is what Buddy Holly and the Cricketers is all about.
“It’s the best rock and roll party you will ever go to!
“The boys are really good at warming up the audience, putting them at their ease, making them laugh and then playing Buddy’s songs in an authentic and irresistibly energetic way.
“By the end of the evening, the whole audience is on its feet. This year is especially poignant and will be a show to remember.”
Catch Buddy Holly and the Cricketers at Eastwood Park Theatre on Sunday, February 10, 7.30pm. For tickets visit www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk or call 0141 577 4956.