Amid all the noise the pretends to be news, I learned today that Peggy Sue has passed from this life. Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham, still of Buddy Holly’s Lubbock, Texas, died Monday at 78.
According to Wikipedia and Peggy Sue’s memoir, Peggy Sue had broken up with the Crickets’ drummer, Jerry Allison, shortly before Holly and Allison wrote her song. To coax her back, Allison changed the lyrics from Cindy Lou, Holly’s niece, to Peggy Sue. The two were later married, if only for a time.
The song, with its simple lyrics and the infectious beat that brought Holly instant fame, became a hit in 1957, the year that Buddy Holly and his music leaped into the national spotlight. A year later, he wrote and recorded a demo of a pensive sequel, “Peggy Sue Got Married.” It was later produced, released and also became a hit.
Buddy Holly and the music died on February 3, 1959, in a plane crash near Cedar Lake, Iowa. The fate of a coin flip had Richie Valens on the plane as well. Waylon Jennings, Holly’s then bassist, gave up his seat to the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson.
Peggy Sue was the girl, Holly wrote, “in nearly every song.” She inspired the Kathleen Turner film, “Peggy Sue Got Married” that featured the comical over-acting of Nicholas Cage. There was something about Peggy Sue that we could not let die. She was from a time when we thought the world made sense and when love was simply true, whether wishful or wistful.
Only now the muse, Peggy Sue, has died. We are left with a song, a memory and a wish that Buddy Holly could write just one more song.
If you knew Peggy Sue
Then you’d know why I feel blue without Peggy
My Peggy Sue