Lubbock’s claim to world fame is as the birthplace of Buddy Holly. Inspired by the blues and country music of his childhood – and a seminal encounter with the young Elvis Presley, gigging in Lubbock at the Cotton Club – Buddy Holly was one of rock’n’roll’s first singer-songwriters. The Holly sound, characterized by steady strumming guitar, rapid drumming and his trademark hiccupping vocals, was made famous by hits such as Peggy Sue, Not Fade Away and That’ll Be the Day. Buddy was killed at 22 in the Iowa plane crash of February 3, 1959 (“The Day the Music Died”), that also claimed the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. Don’t leave town without visiting the Buddy Holly Center, 1801 Crickets Ave (buddyhollycenter.org), an impressive space that holds a collection of Holly memorabilia, including the black glasses he wore on the day he died.
Across the street from the center is the Buddy Holly Statue, an 8ft bronze figure that’s the focal point of the Buddy and Maria Elena Holly Plaza. Buddy’s grave is in Lubbock’s cemetery at the end of 34th Street; take the right fork inside the gate, and the grave, decorated with flowers and guitar picks, is on the left.