LUBBOCK, Texas – Buddy Holly’s 85th birthday celebration bash kicked off at Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences with a performance that included performances from family members.
Eddie Weir, Buddy Holly’s nephew, and Sherry Holly, Buddy Holly’s niece, performed with their band My House to dozens of Buddy Holly fans.
“We’re just blown over by how everybody celebrates Buddy’s birthday and we just want to be a part of it,” said Weir, “We are so pleased that we are still alive and young enough that we can actually get out and sing and play.”
Sherry said she remembers her uncle to be a caring man and recalls a time when he helped take her back to her parents when she got lost in the basement at their church once.
“It was a huge church and I got lost down there,” she said. “And Buddy grabbed me by the hand and he helped me find my parents. I though that was the greatest thing.”
Sherry said, to her, he was just ‘Uncle Buddy’ and that she never realized her uncle was as famous as he is until later.
“We stayed home one day to watch the Ed Sullivan Show,” she said. “And they said, ‘well, Buddy is going go be singing on the Ed Sullivan Show.'”
Weir said his uncle was touring most of the time he was growing up and that he remembers being upset about not being able to go see a John Wayne movie with him.
“All the boys in the band said I would hinder them when they were chasing girls because I was younger than them,” he said. “I was pretty upset I didn’t get to go, so I snuck up and hit Buddy with a croquet mallet in the head.”
Weir said he was afraid his uncle didn’t like him after that, but that Buddy came home and wrote ‘That’ll Be The Day.’
“So I’m hoping I might have knocked some sense into him,” he said.
Weir said Buddy never thought he would have such an impact on future music legends like The Beatles.
“I think Buddy thought he was going to come back to Lubbock and lay tile after this all blew over,” Weir said. “But it never blew over.”
Adriana Gomez went to Buddy Holly Hall and wore a Buddy Holly shirt she was gifted in 1997. Gomez said she was excited to celebrate his birthday.
“[His music] makes you happy, gets you moving [and] I think anything that can do that to you – either physically or mentally – it’s good for the spirit,” said Gomez.
Sebastian Forbush, the curator at Buddy Holly Center, said people come year-round from all over and even travel internationally to visit the museum.
Forbush said Buddy, at one point, tried to wear contacts instead of his now-iconic glasses and even tried playing some shows without glasses.
“When Buddy Holly was first coming up, he always had his glasses because his vision was so poor,” he said. “People were trying to get him to abandon his glasses because they didn’t view rock’n’roll stars that way, they wanted everyone to kind of look like Elvis.”
Forbush said Buddy instead chose to embrace the glasses.
“He really embraced who he was and how he looked and he didn’t really care,” Forbush said.