By Megan Harlan
Updated October 27, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Buddy Holly: A Biography

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Buddy Holly: A Biography Ellis Amburn (St. Martin’s Press, $24.95) Although Holly was just 22 when he died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 — ”the day the music died,” as Don McLean mourned in ”American Pie” — his musical legacy helped shape rock & roll history. And as Amburn characterizes him in this lively, meticulous account, Holly was a geek only insofar as his eyewear, engaging in naughty rock-star behavior like drinking bouts and orgies. For this, the third in his trilogy that examines the Texas roots of rock & roll (after biographies of Janis Joplin and Roy Orbison), Amburn interviewed the Crickets — Holly’s band mates — and family members to richly evoke Holly’s conversion from C&W to rock (as counseled by Elvis), his Greenwich Village bohemian days, and the final fateful tour. Amburn gets gratuitous when he details the postcrash remains of the bodies. But in illuminating the scope of Holly’s influence — with songs like ”Not Fade Away” that inspired British musicians from Paul McCartney to Keith Richards — this book shines. A-

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Buddy Holly: A Biography

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