On January 26, 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets made their second and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show—this time earning the well-known wrath of the host.
They were scheduled to perform their hit “Oh, Boy!,” but Sullivan told them to substitute it because he felt it was too raucous. You can imagine how that went over, though, and Holly told him he’d already told his hometown friends that was the song he was going to be performing. And that was that.
Sullivan summoned the Crickets to a last-minute rehearsal the afternoon of the show, but when he got to their dressing room only Holly was there. When asked where the others were, Holly said, “I don’t know. No telling.” Sullivan said, “Well, I guess The Crickets are not too excited to be on The Ed Sullivan Show,” to which Holly replied, “I hope they’re damn more excited than I am.” By that time Ed was completely steamed.
He cut the Crickets’ act from two songs to one, and he mispronounced Holly’s name when he introduced them as “Buddy Hollet and his Crickets.” In addition, the line feed for Holly’s electric guitar was turned off, and he tried to compensate by singing as loudly as he could and repeatedly trying to turn up the volume on his guitar. He finally let loose with a dramatic solo during the instrumental break so the audience would know the technical fault wasn’t his.
In the end Buddy Holly and the Crickets were so well received that Sullivan invited them back for a third time, but Holly’s response was that Sullivan didn’t have enough money for that.
Category: Best of PS