Buddy Holly’s plane may have gone down on Feb. 3, 1959, but his legacy never died.
Billy McGuigan and his band will bring Buddy back during “Rave On” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the McPherson Opera House.
Holly only had about an 18-month career and died at age 22 when a plane also carrying Richie Valens and “Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson crashed.
Famed rock ‘n’ rollers who came after Holly, such as Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, cite Holly as a major influence.
McGuigan said this is what inspired him to write and perform the Buddy Holly tribute show.
“I have always been interested in his music,” McGuigan said.” I was looking to put together a rock-‘n’-roll show. I started with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, and guys like The Rolling Stones and the beatles talked about Buddy.”
In an Aug. 24, 1978, Rolling Stone interview, Bruce Springsteen told Dave Marsh, “I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on; that keeps me honest.”
Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones saw Holly perform “Not Fade Away” live, which became an early hit for the Stones.
“There’s a reason Buddy Holly’s music has had such incredible influence. He was a genius songwriter,” John Holecek, McPherson Opera House executive director, said. “As a kid, I was a fanatic Buddy Holly fan, and I really did cry when I found out he had died. ‘Rave On’ is more than just a performance. It will stir your soul. And to younger people who don’t really know that much about Buddy’s music. I say, ‘come on down to see what you’ve been missing.’”
This is the 10th year 37-year-old McGuigan has performed “Rave On.” It’s the second time he has performed at the Opera House. He previously performed in a Beatles show at the venue.
McGuigan said the Opera House has its own personality.
“It is such a great venue. It adds ambiance. It is just so cool,” he said.
“Rave On” includes about 35 Holly songs and another five to 10 songs from Holly’s era.
The show includes Holly favorites like “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue,” but audience members also will be treated to lesser-known selections from Holly’s repertoire, such as “Reminiscing,” which McGuigan said is his favorite Holly tune.
McGuigan said he tries to present a genuine performance with historical asides about Holly and his career.
He says his show will be fun for audiences of all ages and presents “the heart of great rock ‘n’ roll.
Tickets are available online, mcphersonoperahouse.org, by phone, (620) 241-1952, or at the box office, 219 S. Main St.
NCRA is the Gold Sponsor of the show. Bronze Sponsors are Peoples Bank and Trust, Piping Technology Company, Farmers State Bank, and Elliott Insurance and Real Estate Company.