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The Crickets are an American rock and roll band from Lubbock, Texas, formed by singer/songwriter Buddy Holly in the 1950s. Their first hit record was "That'll Be the Day", released in 1957. The single became number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in Billboard magazine on September 23. They helped set the template for subsequent rock bands such as the Beatles, with their guitar-bass-drums arrangements and tendency to write their own material. After Holly's death in 1959 the band continued to tour and record with different vocalists, releasing new material into the 21st century.



  • 1 Formation
  • 2 Early success
  • 3 After Holly's death
  • 4 21st century
  • 5 Members
    • 5.1 Timeline
  • 6 Discography
    • 6.1 Singles
    • 6.2 Music videos
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


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 withSonny Curtis and Don Guess),[1] posthumous releases refer to The Three Tunes) recorded an album's worth of rockabilly numbers inNashville, Tennessee for Decca; the records were no more than mildly successful, and the band didn't 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 insects-centered names, apparently unaware of the Bronx R&B vocal group The Crickets, who recorded for Jay-Dee.[3] It is worth noting that 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. The 1959 Winter Dance Party tour which included Buddy Holly, he had formed a band for the tour which included Tommy Allsup on Guitar, Waylon Jennings on Bass Guitar and Carl Bunch on drums.

Early success[edit][]

Trading card photo of The Crickets. In 1957, 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, andSonny 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 was killed in a plane crash while on tour.

After Holly's death[edit][]

The Crickets in 1962. Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison,Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Naylor

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, would join the group as lead vocalist for their 1960 single of "Dont Cha Know" (Side A), and "Peggy Sue Got Married" (Side B) released as Coral 62238 after the departure of Sinks. Coincidentally, David Box died in a charter plane crash on October 23, 1964 while touring as a solo singer.[7][8]

In 1962, The Crickets' version of the Gerry Goffin–Carole King song "Don't Ever Change" (Liberty Records), featuring Jerry Naylor on lead vocals,[9] reached the top 5 in the British single charts.[10] The Crickets would also release in 1962 their album titled "Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets" with Bobby Vee singing on lead vocals. In 1964, The Crickets recorded their version of the rock and surf song "California Sun" for their album of the same title.[11]

In 1978, the award-winning film, The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey as Buddy Holly, presented an engaging but somewhat inaccurate depiction of the band's early years. Allison and Mauldin's names were altered as Jesse Charles and Ray Bob Simmons wherein Charles is portrayed with racial attitudes, while Niki Sullivan, Sonny Curtis, Bob Montgomery, Don Guess & Larry Welborn were written out of the film altogether 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, Bobby Vee, Tonio K. and more. The album was produced and mixed by Greg Ladanyi and included editing and additional mixes by Dave Carlock, Rob Hill, and Rogers Masson.[12]

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.[13][14]

Allison is still touring[when?] with Sonny Curtis, a childhood friend and bandmate of Buddy Holly's, on vocals and guitar.[15]

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 due to illness of Mauldin.




  • 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)


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"[16] (from Holly In The Hills)

27 9 11 The Buddy Holly Story
"It's So Easy"

"Lonesome Tears" (from Holly In The Hills)

Music videos[edit][]

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