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Buddy Holly Bibliography

Here is a list of reliable sources of information about Buddy Holly.  This is not a comprehensive list by any means, just the books that I go to most frequently to get the facts.  I'm not sure any of these are still in print, so you might have to hunt them down...

  • Remembering Buddy: The Definitive Biography of Buddy Holly by John Goldrosen and John Beecher  
    This is the gold standard.  If you only have one Buddy Holly book, this is the one.  It's well-written and detailed, with meticulous research from the primary sources.  Appendices include a thorough sessionography and discography.  I have the latest edition, last updated more than 20 years ago.  If a new edition came out today, I'd snap it right up.

  • Rave On! by Philip Norman
    The most readable of all the Holly biographies, and probably the easiest to obtain.  Some of the writing is a little salacious, looking for whiffs of scandal here and there, but the outlines of Buddy's life are pretty well covered.  Be aware that Norman Petty doesn't come out looking very good in this one.


  • The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the "Big Bopper" and Ritchie Valens by Larry Lehmer
    One of the very best music books I've ever read.  The author paints an incredible picture of the pains and pleasures of the Winter Dance Party tour.  Equal time is spent with Buddy, the Bopper, and Ritchie, covering their lives and careers up to the time of the tour.  There is a thorough discussion of the crash and the investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board, and of the aftermath of the crash.  Well written and fascinating.


  • Buddy Holly Day-by-Day by Bill Griggs
    If not for Bill Griggs we might know very little about the actual facts about Buddy.  Bill spent much of his life thoroughly documenting Buddy's life.  This five-volume series, long out of print, contains more than 1800 dated entries, with minute details about contracts, receipts, fan mail, daily life, traffic tickets, you name it.  Not for the casual fan; it's really for the truly fanatical.


  • The A-Z of Buddy Holly by Alan Mann
    A quirky and fun book. 218 pages of alphabetical entries about all things Buddy Holly, some fairly tangential.  You can look up song titles, people, places, etc., and get a paragraph or two of information.  It's a nicely arranged companion to some of the more detailed books.

I've had good luck finding used books on -- this is one-stop-shopping for small bookstores from all over the U.S. and the U.K.  -- it's easier to find Buddy Holly stuff in England than anywhere else.

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