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Never-released Buddy Holly song to be auctioned

BY ROBERT W. WELKOS

Buddy Holly’s 1959 “Apartment Tapes” six-song acetate that includes Buddy’s never-released song “That’s What They Say” will be auctioned April 9 in Beverly Hills along with a treasure trove of the rock icon’s clothing, candid tour photographs and other personal effects that have been owned by his widow.

“The six-song tape was recorded weeks before he died,” said Noah Fleisher, a spokesman for Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, which is conducting the auction. “This acetate has ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ on it as well as a song that’s never been released.”

Other tunes on the one-sided acetate are “What to Do,” “That Makes it Tough,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” and “Learning the Game.”

Holly recorded the songs on an Ampex tape recorder he bought in December, 1958, from famed producer Norman Petty. In a letter to his parents dated Dec. 11, 1958, Buddy noted that “Peggy Sue Got Married” was his favorite.

Heritage officials noted that several of the original 14 cuts were overdubbed and released posthumously after Buddy’s death in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa on Feb. 3, 1959.

During the Christmas holidays in 1958, Buddy and his bride, Maria Elena, visited Lubbock and then returned to New York on New Year’s Eve. The newlyweds had lunch with Buddy’s friend and producer, Dick Jacobs, on Jan. 5, 1959. It was at this lunch that Buddy handed over his one and only copy of the newly recorded acoustic songs. Buddy planned on recording the tunes upon his return from his tour.

Heritage officials noted that several of the original 14 cuts were overdubbed and released posthumously, but this acetate collects six of the raw versions, just as Holly originally recorded them in his New York City apartment.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the early rock legend’s death, a CD anthology was released in 2009, which included some of the Apartment Tapes tunes, but the first cut on the acetate, “That’s What They Say,” hasn’t been previously released.

Fleisher said that Maria Elena, who lives in Dallas, put some of Buddy’s personal effects up for auction in 2006. His Omega watch, for example, sold for $155,350.

Maria Elena, who has kept a low profile over the years, plans to attend the auction in Beverly Hills.

“She still is in love with Buddy and has protected his legacy very closely,” Fleisher said. “She’s had to live every day thinking what Buddy would have her do. She’s turned down a lot of endorsements over the years because she knew he wouldn’t like it.”

BUDDY HOLLY ON THE ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE PARTY DEC. 1957

About Robert W. Welkos

Executive Editor: Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the entertainment industry for 15 years as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. During this span, he wrote extensively about the movie industry from turmoil in the executive suites, the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and box office hits and bombs to visits to movie sets as well as profiles of top stars and A-list directors, cutting edge features on the newest indie films and visits to famous film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Prior to entertainment, Welkos worked as a reporter and assistant city editor in The Times’ Metro section where he undertook major investigations for the paper as well as covering breaking news and writing in-depth features. Before joining The Times, he worked for the Associated Press in Reno, Nevada, and City News Service in Los Angeles.

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3 Comments

  • March 31, 2010 | Permalink |

    that song is probably going to sell for a ton

  • April 1, 2010 | Permalink |

    Please input the songs Buddy Holly ….

    I am curious to know the songs ..

  • April 1, 2010 | Permalink |

    “That’s What They Say” is not an unreleased Holly song. This song has been part of Buddy Holly canon since 1960. The undubbed version has also been in circulation for years and recieved a legit release just last year on “Down the Line: Rarities”

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