Buddy’s Best Scene
Although I was a wee lass during Buddy’s brief heyday, I’m a rock ‘n roll gal, and I knew I’d love the music. What I didn’t know was how profoundly Buddy influenced the social fabric of the 1950’s. If I had to pick my favorite scene, it would be at the Apollo nightclub in Harlem in 1957, when Buddy and the Crickets (remind you of those British boys named after an insect? Not a coincidence) broke through entrenched racial barriers.
In those days, Anglo folks and African American folks did not mingle at the likes of the Apollo, and the scene makes that clear. Buddy’s music was so rockin’ that the Apollo stage manager did not expect him to be a white boy. The vibe was tense. But when Buddy began to perform, everyone relaxed and started to move with the music. It was a magic moment, and it reminded me how music—and especially rock ‘n roll—has been a force for change.