Jerry Allison, Drummer and Songwriter for Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Dead at 82

    Jerry Allison, the drummer best known for his work with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, has died. He was 82.

    The news was announced on the official Buddy Holly Facebook page, with no cause of death provided. “Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jerry ‘JI’ Allison, drummer in the Crickets, one of Buddy’s very closest friends, and the inspiration to drummers for decades since, who passed away today at the age of 82,” the message reads. “JI was a musician ahead of his time, and undoubtedly his energy, ideas and exceptional skill contributed to both the Crickets, and rock n’ roll itself, becoming such a success. Buddy is often heralded as the original singer-songwriter, but JI, too, wrote and inspired so many of the songs that would go on to be eternal classics.”

    Born in 1939, Allison met Holly in the 1950s, and the two started playing as a duo before forming the Crickets with bassist Joe B. Mauldin and rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan in 1957. The group soon became a trio following the departure of Sullivan. Allison contributed substantially to the band’s songwriting and is credited as a co-writer on some of their biggest hits, including ‘Peggy Sue’ and ‘More Than I Can Say’.

    Following Holly’s death in a plane crash in 1959, Allison became the leader of the Crickets and continued to tour and record with the group into the ’60s and beyond, releasing a total of 13 studio albums between 1960 and 2005. In 2012, Allison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Crickets.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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