The Crickets

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For other uses, see Cricket (disambiguation).
The Crickets
Buddy Holly & The Crickets publicity portrait - cropped.jpg
The Crickets in 1957 (top to bottom):
Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, and Joe B. Mauldin
Background information
Origin Lubbock, Texas, USA
Genres Rock & roll
Years active 1957–present
Labels Brunswick, Coral, Liberty, MCA, Vertigo, Chirp
Members Glen Hardin
Jerry Allison
Sonny Curtis
Past members Buddy Holly
Earl Sinks
Jerry Naylor
Niki Sullivan
Tommy Allsup
Joe B. Mauldin

The Crickets are an American rock and roll band from Lubbock, Texas, formed by singer/songwriter Buddy Holly in the 1950s. Released in 1957, their first hit record, "That'll Be the Day", became a number-one hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 23. The sleeve of their first album, The "Chirping" Crickets, shows the band line-up at the time: Holly on vocals and lead guitar, Niki Sullivan on backing vocals and rhythm guitar, Jerry Allison on drums, and Joe Mauldin on upright double bass. The Crickets helped set the template for subsequent rock bands such as the Beatles, with their guitar-bass-drums line-up and the talent to write most of their own material. After Holly's death in 1959 the band continued to tour and record with different lead vocalists and other band members. They continued performing and releasing new material into the 21st century.


Norman Petty Recording Studios.

Holly had been making demo recordings with local musician friends since 1954. Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison, and Larry Welborn participated in these sessions. In 1956 Holly's band (then known informally as Buddy and the Two Tones, meaning Buddy Holly with Sonny Curtis and Don Guess;[1] posthumous releases refer to The Three Tunes) recorded an album's worth of rockabilly numbers in Nashville, Tennessee, for Decca; the records were no more than mildly successful, and the band did not hit financial success until 1957, when producer and recording engineer Norman Petty hosted Holly's sessions in Clovis, New Mexico.

Holly had already recorded for another label under his own name, so to avoid legal problems he needed a new name for his group.[2] As the Crickets recalled in John Goldrosen's book The Buddy Holly Story, they were inspired by other groups named after birds. They were then considering insect-centered names, apparently unaware of the Bronx R&B vocal group "The Crickets", who recorded for Jay-Dee.[3] They almost chose the name "Beetles";[4] years later, the Beatles chose their band name partly in homage to the Crickets.[2][5]

The Crickets were lead guitarist and vocalist Buddy Holly, drummer Jerry Allison, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan. Sullivan dropped out after a little more than one year to resume his education. The Crickets, now a trio, continued to make stage and TV appearances, and recorded more songs, many composed by the band members themselves.

Early success[edit]

Trading card photo of the Crickets in 1957: Buddy Holly, Jerry Alison, Niki Sullivan, and at front Joe Mauldin. Topps gum cards issued a series of movie stars, television stars and recording stars. They were part of their recording stars cards.

During 1957 Norman Petty arranged for the Crickets' recordings to be marketed under two separate names. The solo vocals went out as "Buddy Holly" and the songs with dubbed backing vocals were issued as "The Crickets".[2] Petty reasoned correctly that disc jockeys might be reluctant to program a single artist too heavily, but would have no problem playing records by two seemingly different groups. Some disc jockeys referred to the band as "Buddy Holly and the Crickets" but the record labels never used this wording until after Holly's death.

In 1958, Holly broke with producer Petty and moved to New York to be more involved with the publishing and recording businesses. Allison and Mauldin chose not to move and returned to Lubbock. Holly now recorded under his own name with studio musicians Tommy Allsup and Carl Bunch. Waylon Jennings toured with him shortly after the Crickets folded.

Allison and Mauldin looked forward to rejoining Holly after he returned from a winter tour through the northern Midwest. In the meantime, Joe B. Mauldin, J.I. Allison, and Sonny Curtis (a friend and collaborator with Buddy) began recording new songs as the Crickets, with Earl Sinks on vocals. While they were recording, it was announced that Holly had died in a plane crash while on tour.

After Holly's death[edit]

The Crickets, now with vocalist Earl Sinks, went on performing after Holly's death.[6] David Box, a native of Lubbock, Texas, and a near identical Buddy Holly soundalike, joined the group as lead vocalist for their 1960 single of "Dont Cha Know"/"Peggy Sue Got Married", released as Coral 62238 after the departure of Sinks. Curtis was not in the band at the time, as he was completing military service. Box, who had left the group in 1960, died in a charter plane crash on October 23, 1964, while touring as a solo singer.[7][8]

In April 1960 the Crickets backed the Everly Brothers on their first UK concert tour, but they were not billed as their backing group.[citation needed]

By 1962, The Crickets consisted of Curtis, Allison, Glen D. Hardin and Jerry Naylor. That year, the Crickets' version of the Gerry GoffinCarole King song "Don't Ever Change" (Liberty Records), featuring Naylor on lead vocals,[6] reached the top five in the British single charts.[9] Also in 1962 they released Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets, an album with Bobby Vee on lead vocals. For their 1962 UK tour, Allison was temporarily out of the group due to commitments with the U.S. Air Force.

In 1963, the Crickets hit the UK top 40 twice more with the singles "My Little Girl" and "Don't Try To Change Me", but this was the end of their chart career. Nevertheless, the band continued to record. In 1964, the Crickets issued their version of the rock and surf song "California Sun" for their album of the same title.[10]

Personnel changes took place over the years, with Curtis and a returning Allison remaining relative constants. For the 1971 album Rockin' 50's Rock n' Roll (which consisted mostly of remakes of Buddy Holly-era material), the group consisted of Curtis, Allison and Doug Gilmore. For the 1973 album Bubblegum, Bop, Ballad And Boogies, the line-up featured Curtis, Alison, a returning Hardin and bassist Ric Grech. Steven Krikkorian, later to record as new waver Tonio K., joined the group as a vocalist shortly thereafter, as did guitarists Albert Lee and Nick van Maarth, both replacing Hardin. Both the 1973 album Remnants and the 1974 album A Long Way From Lubbock featured a sextet of Allison, Curtis, Krikkorian, Grech, Lee and van Maarth.

In 1978, the award-winning film The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey as Buddy Holly, presented an engaging but inaccurate depiction of the band's early years. Allison and Mauldin's names were altered to Jesse Charles and Ray Bob Simmons respectively and Charles is portrayed as having racial attitudes. Also Niki Sullivan, Sonny Curtis, Bob Montgomery, Don Guess, and Larry Welborn are not included in the film which made them vote their portrayal as negative.

21st century[edit]

The Crickets are now recognized in Lubbock, Texas, with a downtown avenue named in their honor.

The Crickets released The Crickets and Their Buddies in 2004 which features several classics from all parts of their career featuring guest appearances by several prominent artists including Eric Clapton, Rodney Crowell, Waylon Jennings, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Graham Nash, and Bobby Vee. The album was produced and mixed by Greg Ladanyi and included editing and additional mixes by Dave Carlock, Rob Hill, and Rogers Masson.[11] For the album, the Crickets officially consisted of Allison, Curtis and Mauldin; former members Albert Lee (guitar) and Glen D. Hardin (keyboards) also played throughout, and one-time member Steven Krikkorian (now known as Tonio K.) was a guest lead vocalist on two tracks.

On October 28, 2008, the Crickets were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. They performed "Peggy Sue", "Not Fade Away" and "That'll Be the Day" at the ceremony, accompanied by guest guitarist Keith Richards.[12][13]

In 2011, Allison was still touring with Sonny Curtis, a childhood friend and bandmate of Buddy Holly's, on vocals and guitar.[14]

On April 14, 2012, the Crickets were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by a special committee, aimed at correcting the mistake of not including the band with Buddy Holly when he was first inducted in 1986. The inducted members include Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis, Joe B. Mauldin, and Niki Sullivan. The group was unable to attend the ceremony because Mauldin was ill.




  • The "Chirping" Crickets (1957, with Buddy Holly)
  • The Sound of the Crickets (1958, single EP with Buddy Holly, on Coral Records)
  • Buddy Holly (1958, under Buddy Holly)
  • In Style with the Crickets (1960)
  • Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets (1962)
  • Something Old, Something New (1963)
  • California Sun (1964)
  • Rock Reflections (1971)
  • Remnants (1973)
  • Bubblegum, Pop, Ballads & Boogie (1973)
  • Long Way from Lubbock (1975) (With Albert Lee).
  • Back in Style (1975)
  • 3 Piece (1988)
  • T Shirt (1988)
  • Cover to Cover (1995)
  • The Original (1996)
  • Rockin (2000)
  • Too Much Monday Morning
  • Crickets and Their Buddies (2004)
  • About Time Too (With Mike Berry)
  • Double Exposure (2015) (Recorded 1992-3)


Year Single (A-side / B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Peak positions Label Album
1957 "That'll Be the Day"
"I'm Looking for Someone to Love"
1 2 1 Brunswick The "Chirping" Crickets
"Oh, Boy!"
"Not Fade Away"
10 15 3
1958 "Maybe Baby"
"Tell Me How"
17 8 4
"Think It Over"
"Fool's Paradise"[15]
27 9 11 N/A
"It's So Easy"
"Lonesome Tears"
1959 "Love's Made a Fool of You"
"Someone, Someone" (Non-LP track)
26 In Style with the Crickets
"When You Ask About Love"
1960 "More Than I Can Say"
"Baby My Heart"
42[16] Coral
"Don't Cha Know"
"Peggy Sue Got Married"
1961 "A Sweet Love"
"I Fought the Law"
In Style with the Crickets
"He's Old Enough To Know Better"
"I'm Feeling Better"
Liberty N/A
1962 "Don't Ever Change"
"I'm Not a Bad Guy"
"I Believe in You"
"Parisian Girl"
"Little Hollywood Girl"
"Parisian Girl"
1963 "My Little Girl"
"Teardrops Fall Like Rain"
"Don't Try to Change Me" (UK-only release?)
"Lost and Alone" (UK-only release?)
"April Avenue"
"Don't Say You Love Me"
"Right or Wrong" (UK-only release?)
"You Can't Be In Between" (UK-only release?)

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1996 "Well ... All Right" (with Nanci Griffith)


  1. ^ "Buddy Holly Timeline: 1936 to 1956". Buddy Holly Center. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 12 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Rock 'n' roll in the late fifties. [Part 2]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  3. ^ "crickets". Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Crickets". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ ""The Beatles: What's In a Name?" By Dave Persails". Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Who’s Who On The Cricket’s Recordings". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Buddy Holly & The - David Box". Retrieved July 17, 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Just a Day Away" (PDF). HubStuff. January 29, 2004. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Don't Ever Change". The Beatles Bible. December 22, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Buddy Holly & The - The Crickets Discography". Retrieved July 17, 2011. [dead link]
  11. ^ "The Crickets". The Crickets. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, others honor new Musician Hall of Fame inductees". The Tennessean. October 28, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Hall of Fame Honour for Booker T". BBC News. October 29, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  14. ^ "THE CRICKETS - The Original Rock & Roll Legends". Retrieved July 17, 2011. [dead link]
  15. ^ ""Buddy Holly Discography". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ "CRICKETS | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 

External links[edit]