In Memoriam|

Jerry Ivan Allison (August 31, 1939 – August 22, 2022) was an American musician, best known as the drummer for The Crickets and co-writer of their hits “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue”, recorded with Buddy Holly. His only solo chart entry on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Real Wild Child”, issued in 1958 under the name Ivan. Allison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Allison’s first professional recording was “Who’s Gonna Be the Next One Honey”, released as a 45-rpm disc (now very rare) by a local group, Hal Goodson and the Raiders. It was also performed at the Norman Petty studio in Clovis, New Mexico, about six months before “Peggy Sue” was recorded. In their early days at the Lubbock Youth Center, in Lubbock, Texas, Allison’s drumming was the sole accompaniment to Buddy Holly’s vocals and guitar, allowing Holly to perform some of his best guitar work.

Over time, Allison’s rhythm backup ranged from slapping his hands on his knees or clapping his hands to a modal plainness of cymbal drumming. His snappy cracks at the snare drum gave power to the songs released under the Crickets’ name. Songs released under Holly’s name were softer in tone and filled with innocence and longing. On these, Allison played only tom-toms, in keeping with the sound of the vocals. His work on the Crickets’ recordings gave the records much of their distinctiveness and has influenced subsequent generations of rock and roll drummers.

Allison did not sing on the Crickets’ records made with Holly — despite the misleading crediting of the band as “vocal group with instrumental accompaniment” — but in 1958 he released the single “Real Wild Child” (having heard Johnny O’Keefe play the original during the Crickets’ brief visit to Australia that year), which he recorded under the pseudonym Ivan, with Holly playing guitar and singing backing vocals. It was a minor chart entry in 1958 and the first studio recording of the song, which became a rock standard. Allison also sang on a few later releases by the Crickets, both singles and album tracks.

Allison also worked as a session musician. For example, he played on the studio recording of the Everly Brothers’ “(Till) I Kissed You” in 1959.

After Holly’s death in 1959, Allison continued his musical career. He retained control of the Crickets’ name and the band continued to tour and record. The most consistent members were bassist Joe B. Mauldin, who was in the Crickets with Holly, and guitarist/vocalist Sonny Curtis, who played with Holly before the Crickets were formed in 1957 and joined the group shortly after Holly’s death. . .
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Allison switched the band’s contract to Liberty Records in 1960, after they had supported the Everly Brothers on a UK tour. He moved his base to Los Angeles, where an old Texas friend, Snuff Garrett, was a senior producer at Liberty. Allison, Curtis and another former Holly sideman, Tommy Allsup, effectively became the core Liberty house band, working with Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette and others. In this period they also played as backing musicians on tracks by Eddie Cochran and, according to some reports, Conway Twitty. Both Allison and Curtis were drafted into military service at different times during this period, which introduced some discontinuity in the personnel of the Crickets. Curtis also began to establish a solo career as a songwriter and singer-guitarist.
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In 2007, Allison was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, as a member of the Crickets. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Crickets by a special committee, aimed at correcting the mistake of not including the Crickets with Buddy Holly when he was first inducted in 1986. The Crickets played a farewell concert in 2016 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, where Holly had appeared on the night of his death.

After Allison’s marriage to Peggy Sue Gerron ended, he married his second wife, Joanie Sveum; they remained together until his death.

Allison lived on a farm in Lyles, Tennessee, where he died from cancer on August 22, 2022, at the age of 82.

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Our music community continues to lose our talented artists – staggering loses. We are going to miss them so much. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost, please check them out at

August 2022
30: Ludmila Diacenco–Sulac, 73, Moldovan musician, violinist and music arranger, cancer; Alexander Skulskiy, 80, Russian conductor, music teacher and television presenter.

29: Luke Bell, 32, American country singer-songwriter (body discovered on this date); John P. Varkey, 52, Indian guitarist (Avial) and composer (Frozen).

27: Robert LuPone, 76, American actor (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sopranos, A Chorus Line), pancreatic cancer; Georges Al Rassi, 42, Lebanese singer, traffic collision; Manolo Sanlúcar, 78, Spanish flamenco composer and guitarist.

26: Hana Zagorová, 75, Czech singer-songwriter and actress (The Hit, Hrubeš a Mareš jsou kamarádi do dešte).

25: Kimmo Blom, 52, Finnish singer (Raskasta Joulua), cancer; Joey DeFrancesco, 51, American jazz musician; Mable John, 91, American R&B singer (“Your Good Thing (Is About to End)”); Saawan Kumar Tak, 86, Indian film director (Saajan Bina Suhagan, Souten, Sanam Bewafa), producer and lyricist, lung disease.

23: Creed Taylor, 93, American jazz trumpeter and record producer, founder of Impulse! Records and CTI Records.

22: Jerry Allison*, 82, American Hall of Fame drummer (The Crickets) and songwriter (“That’ll Be the Day”, “Peggy Sue”); Jaimie Branch, 39, American jazz trumpeter and composer; Capriel Dedeian, 61, Romanian guitarist and composer; R. Somashekharan, 77, Indian singer, composer (Ithum Oru Jeevitham, Jaathakam) and music director; Fredy Studer, 74, Swiss drummer; Piotr Szkudelski, 66, Polish drummer (Perfect); Margaret Urlich, 57, New Zealand singer (“Escaping”, “Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night)”, “Boy in the Moon”), cancer.

21: Stuart Anstis, 48, British guitarist (Cradle of Filth); Zalo Reyes, 69, Chilean singer, complications from diabetes; Monnette Sudler, 70, American jazz guitarist; Robert Williams, 72, Greek composer and singer.

20: Helen Grayco, 97, American singer (The Spike Jones Show) and actress (That Certain Age, A Night at the Opera), cancer; Franz Hummel, 83, German composer and pianist; Nayyara Noor, 71, Pakistani playback singer (Aina).

19: Warren Bernhardt, 83, American jazz pianist (Steps Ahead, Steely Dan); Ted Kirkpatrick, 62, American musician (Tourniquet), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

18: Hadrawi, 79, Somali poet and songwriter; Rolf Kühn, 92, German jazz clarinetist.

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