Buddy Holly

Reading Greil Marcus’ The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs. I’ve read most of his books over the years (starting with the indispensable Mystery Train), and what I find thrilling about his writing is the way he seamlessly combines deep knowledge with unbridled imagination.

The chapter on Buddy Holly (“Crying, Waiting, Hoping: 1959/1969”) is the best thing I’ve ever read on that artist. “1969” alludes to the Beatles’ attempt, in the studio, at playing the Holly songs that inspired them to start a band in the first place — as their band was falling apart. “A Day in the Life” has a big part in the chapter too. The whole ten-year story, as Marcus tells it, is heartbreaking.