Sonny Curtis Remembers Meeting Buddy Holly for the First Time

by Jonathan Howard

Back when American rock ‘n roll was in its infancy, Sonny Curtis was right there. His friendship with Buddy Holly was special.

Growing up in west Texas, Curtis was infatuated with music early in his life. He learned how to play the guitar, and while working in cotton fields would think up songs. Soon he would be playing more and more. Then, he met another guitar-playing boy from Lubbock.

That boy was Buddy Holly. The two started playing songs together and even formed a little band. While speaking to CBS Sunday Morning, Sonny Curtis talked about meeting his old friend and what it was like when the two ran around playing shows.

“Buddy had black hair,” Curtis said with a smile. “But he had dyed it blonde and it was growing out and he reminded me of a black and tan coon hound. We sort of skipped all the niceties and grabbed our guitars and started playing.”

Sonny Curtis also talked about Buddy’s confidence. It seems that from a young age he knew he was destined to be somebody important.

“Buddy exuded confidence,” Curtis continued. “He just knew that he was going to make it big one day.”

When they would hang out, it was about music. They were either listening to music, writing music, or playing music. It came in handy when Elvis Presley came to town in 1956, Buddy and Sonny got the chance to open for him. They had listened to all of the big acts late at night on a car radio.

“We heard Big Momma Thorton, Lonnie Johnson, Lead Belly, Little Richard, Ray Charles… you name it!” Curtis said.

Sonny Curtis ‘Fought The Law’

When Buddy Holly died, Sonny Curtis had been a member of The Crickets for some time. While the band struggled without their former frontman, they were able to find some footing eventually. In fact, during their time post-Holly, Curtis wrote one of the most iconic songs in all of rock n roll.

The 1960 song I Fought The Law has gone on to be covered by dozens of acts. From rock to country music. The Bobby Fuller Four made the song popular. Then, it went on to be recorded by Hank Williams Jr., Nanci Griffith, Green Day, and so many more.

Rock ‘n roll history is so fascinating. When you look at an example like Sonny Curtis it becomes clear that a mix of talent, luck, and the right place at the right time all came into play. It is still so unfortunate that Buddy Holly passed away at such a young age. His contribution to American music was vast in such a short period of time. From west Texas to being heard all around the world. What a journey.