- 23 Aug 22
Drummer Jerry Allison was the only consistent member of the Crickets since their 1957 origins up until their final performance in 2016.
Jerry Allison, was the drummer for Buddy Holly-founded band The Crickets, has died at the age of 82.
The musician, who is credited with co-writing hits including 'That'll Be the Day' and 'Peggy Sue', died on Monday, the official Buddy Holly Facebook page confirmed. He was born in Hillsboro, Texas in 1939.
A statement paid tribute to Allison as a "musician ahead of his time":
"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 statement read.
"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."
The Crickets were formed by singer-songwriter Buddy Holly in January 1957, who later tragically died in an air crash aged just 22.
The band's first hit record, That'll Be the Day, was released in May 1957 and peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 100 chart in the US in September of that year.
The cover of their first album, The 'Chirping' Crickets, showed the band line-up at the time of Holly, Allison, Niki Sullivan, and Joe B Mauldin.
Following Holly’s untimely death in 1959, Allison and Mauldin continued to tour and record under the Crickets banner, with a revolving cast of guests and collaborators throughout – Allison being the only constant member.
Musicians to have performed on records issued after Holly’s death include Earl Sinks, Sonny Curtis, Glen D. Hardin and Jerry Naylor. The Crickets at one time included country star Waylon Jennings, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2012.
Mauldin died in 2015 from cancer, and a year later, Allison and some of the band's former members performed at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, the site of Holly’s final performance.
Shortly after it, Allison announced that the special show marked The Crickets’ final performance.
Blondie drummer Clem Burke and the Mountain Goats and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster have since paid tribute to Allison.
Jerry Allison has left the building. For what I’m into, this is the greatest drumming ever televised. ❤️ https://t.co/IYu5mPV5c7
— Jon Wurster (@jonwurster) August 22, 2022
The latter called Allison’s playing on the Crickets’ late 1957 performance of ‘Peggy Sue’ on The Ed Sullivan Show “the greatest drumming ever televised”.