BUDDY HOLLY & NIKI SUL­LI­VAN

Australian Guitar - - Feature -

Here’s a fun ques­tion to ruin a friend­ship with: what was the first band to specif­i­cally fea­ture both a rhythm gui­tarist and a lead gui­tarist?

It’s near im­pos­si­ble to an­swer be­cause the def­i­ni­tions aren’t com­pletely wa­ter­tight – do big bands count? Does a rhythm gui­tarist have to play chords while the lead plays riffs and so­los? The Crick­ets prob­a­bly weren’t the first band to fea­ture the clas­sic ‘bass, drums, rhythm and lead’ setup (which pretty much be­came stan­dard), ei­ther – and the rhythm-play­ing Sul­li­van left the band after barely a year to study – but to the teenagers just start­ing to dis­cover this new­fan­gled “rock’n’roll” stuff, this was what a band looked like. That was un­til Holly’s death in 1958, at least.

Fun fact: while Holly was alive, there was no “Buddy Holly And The Crick­ets”. The band recorded all of the songs, and those with a sin­gle vo­cal were mar­keted as “Buddy Holly” sin­gles while those with back­ing vo­cals were billed as “The Crick­ets” sin­gles. This was their way of get­ting DJs to play twice as many of his records – a qui­etly bril­liant plan con­cocted by their pro­ducer and man­ager, Nor­man Petty.

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