Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1958 (top to bottom: Allison, Holly and Mauldin)
|Birth name||Jerry Ivan Allison|
August 31, 1939 |
|Genres||Rock and roll, rockabilly|
|Instruments||Drums/percussion, vocals, guitar|
|Associated acts||The Crickets|
Jerry Ivan Allison (born August 31, 1939) is an American musician, best known for being the drummer for the Crickets and co-writer of their Buddy Holly hits "That'll Be The Day" and "Peggy Sue".
Allison's first professional recording can be heard on "Who's Gonna Be the Next One Honey", a very rare recording released as a 45-rpm disc by a local group, Hal Goodson and the Raiders. It was also performed at the Norman Petty studio in Clovis, New Mexico, about six months before "Peggy Sue" was recorded. In their early days at the Lubbock Youth Center, Buddy Holly's vocals and guitar were backed only by Allison's drumming, allowing for some of Holly's best guitar work.
Over time, Allison's rhythm backup ranged from slapping hands-on-knees or hand-clapping the beat to a modal plainness of cymbal drumming. His snappy cracks at the snare drum gave power to the songs released under the name "The Crickets".
Later songs, released under Holly's name, were softer in tone and filled with innocence and longing. On these, Allison played only tom-toms, in keeping with the sound of the vocals. His work on the Crickets' recordings gave the records much of their distinctiveness and has influenced subsequent generations of rock and roll drummers.
Norman Petty, the manager, often manipulated songwriting credits. Allison, although credited with another recording to which he contributed little, helped to compose the music for some of the famous songs, notably "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" (Allison later married Peggy Sue Gerron, the namesake of the latter song, who in her biography quotes Allison admitting he did not write Peggy Sue, "Buddy did"). "That'll Be the Day" was originally recorded by Holly before he started working with Petty, so the latter's appearance on the songwriting credits for the later version by the Crickets illustrates the point about manipulation of the credits. Allison has referred in several published interviews to his role in composing "Not Fade Away", whose credits show Norman Petty/Charles Hardin – the first and middle real names of Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley [sic]).
Although Allison did not sing on the Crickets' records made with Buddy Holly – despite misleading credits for the band's recordings as "vocal group with instrumental accompaniment" – in 1958 he did release the single "Real Wild Child" – having heard Johnny O'Keefe play the original during the Crickets' brief visit to Australia that year – which he recorded under the pseudonym Ivan, with Buddy Holly on guitar and backing vocals. It was a minor chart entry in 1958 and the first studio recording of the song that would become a rock standard. Allison also sang on a few later releases by the Crickets, both singles and album tracks.
According to Buddy Holly's biographer, John Goldrosen, Holly's song "Peggy Sue" was originally named after Holly's niece, Cindy Lue. The name was changed at Allison's request: Peggy Sue was the name of Allison's eventual wife (later divorced), and the title change was a way of asking her to come back after a break-up.
Career after Holly
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After Holly's death in 1959, Allison continued his musical career. He retained control of the band's name, and has toured and recorded with a regularly changing group as The Crickets. The most consistent members of this band have been bassist Joe B. Mauldin who was in Buddy Holly's Crickets, and guitarist-singer Sonny Curtis who played with Holly before The Crickets were formed in 1957, and rejoined shortly after Holly's death. Others who have been in and out of the band include Glen D. Hardin, also associated with Elvis Presley's live band; Albert Lee, also once part of Emmylou Harris' Hot Band; and assorted lead vocalists including Earl Sinks, David Box and Jerry Naylor.
The band's last recordings for the Coral label included several singles which were incorporated in the 1960 album In Style with The Crickets. The rock classic "I Fought the Law" written by Sonny Curtis, first appeared here, and tracks from singles released after Holly's death included their version of Holly's "Love's Made a Fool of You", a chart entry for them in the UK in late 1959, and the Allison/Curtis composition "More Than I Can Say" which was later recorded by Leo Sayer and other artists.
Allison switched the band's contract to Liberty Records in 1960, after they had supported The Everly Brothers on a UK tour. He moved his base to Los Angeles, where an old Texas friend Snuff Garrett was installed as a senior producer at Liberty. Allison, with Sonny Curtis and another former Holly sideman, Tommy Allsup, became effectively members of the core the Liberty house band, working with Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette and others. In this period they also played as backing musicians on tracks by Eddie Cochran and, according to some reports, Conway Twitty. Both Allison and Sonny Curtis were drafted at different times in this period, limiting any possibility of continuity in the make-up of The Crickets. Sonny Curtis also began to establish a significant solo career as a songwriter and singer/guitarist.
In the late 1970s, the band toured for a period with Waylon Jennings, another one-time Buddy Holly sideman. In more recent years, The Crickets have put out albums including collaborations with many artists who recognize their influence in early rock 'n' roll. These include Nanci Griffith, with whom they have also toured, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Johnny Rivers, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Vee, and many others. In 2007, Allison was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee as a member of the Crickets. In 2012, Allison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Crickets by a special committee, aimed at correcting the mistake of not including the Crickets with Buddy Holly when he was first inducted in 1986. With the death of Crickets bassist Joe B. Mauldin in 2015, Allison is the sole surviving member of the Crickets from their late-1950s heyday.
- "Jerry Allison". allmusic. Retrieved 2006-11-14.
- "Songs composed by Jerry Allison". Retrieved 2006-11-23.
- "Hal Goodson and the Raiders". Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- Holly George-Warren, Anthony Decurtis (eds.) (1976). The RollingStone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (3rd ed.). New York: Random House. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-679-73728-6.
- Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll (2nd ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
- "Jerry Allison". Retrieved 2006-11-07.
- "Peggy Sue". allmusic. Retrieved 2006-11-14.[dead link]
- Stewart, Dick; Gerron, Peggy Sue (July 4, 2004). "Up Close with Peggy Sue Gerron, The 'Real' Peggy Sue". Music Dish. The Lance Montyly. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
- "Peggy Sue got where?". BBC News Magazine. BBC. February 3, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2013.