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Tuning into the story of Buddy Holly – America's tragic music legend

By Margaret Chrystall

A multi-talented cast of actor-musicians get onstage at Eden Court this week to present the show that has now been seen by 22 million people across the world.

Chris Weeks.
Chris Weeks.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story returns to Inverness to take their audiences through the rollercoaster ride that is the short life and meteoric rise of American music legend Buddy Holly.

The show takes us from his Texas rockabilly beginnings to international stardom and on to present the legendary final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa – poignant for the audience which knows how Buddy's story must end – with his tragic death at the age of just 22.

The show's two hours include the chance to enjoy what many believe are some of the greatest songs ever written performed live in front of them – including That’ll Be The Day, Oh Boy, Rave On, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, Johnny B Goode, Raining In My Heart, Everyday, Shout and many more.

Last time Chris Weeks was in Inverness with the show – in 2020 – the run began on a significant date in the real-life Buddy Holly story.

It opened at Eden Court on February 3 – the same date in 1959 that rock n roll legend Buddy Holly got on a plane and never returned. Some extra songs were added that night in Inverness, in the finale, to commemorate the day. So this theatre has a special place in the hearts for Buddys Chris and AJ Jenks.

The day is documented in the song American Pie by Don McLean which dramatises the impact that the loss of Buddy and musicians Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had ‘the day the music died’.

For Chris, it was through the show itself that he first learned about the music of Buddy Holly.

Last time in Inverness with the show back in 2020, Chris revealed he has had Buddy: The Buddy Holly Show in his life a lot longer than you might expect – he explains why.

“I actually came to the show before I came across Buddy Holly the man, funnily enough – which is maybe a bit unusual!

“I saw the Holly show at my local theatre.

“My dad had gone to see the matinee and came back and said to me ‘My God, you’ve got to come and see this!’.

“So we went and saw it in the evening.

“This was when I was just six or seven!

“So it was a late night out for a start!” laughed Christoper. “But I thought it was absolutely unbelievable and that the music was great.

“I didn’t know any of the music at the time, but the energy and the rock n roll feel of it really got to me at that age.

“So I just listened to the cast recording before I got into the music of Buddy himself. Then I found it for myself. But I started with the show!”

Here, the actor and musician who plays Buddy Holly, in turn with fellow performer AJ Jenks, talks about the role and the chance to be part of a show he loves.

1 What is your own favourite Buddy Holly song? And how does it help you understand this person whose shoes you walk in and whose life and music you share with other people?

A Chris Weeks: I love That’ll Be The Day, I think it’s still such a cool song to this day. You can tell why it was such a hit when it was released. I also love Raining In My Heart, it shows the huge journey that Buddy went on in just 18 months. It’s an incredibly mature song and a real contrast to his early work. It has huge depth of feeling, just like the man himself.

Chris Weeks plays Buddy Holly.
Chris Weeks plays Buddy Holly.

Q You live Buddy Holly's short life each night you are on stage. What is it about him you want your performance to portray to members of an audience who might not know that much about him?

A Chris: I try to show his passion, his drive and his warmth. Also his quirkiness…he wasn’t a normal guy, hardly a stereotypical rock and roll star, but that didn’t stop him. All of these things together turned him into this quiet revolutionary who changed the world.

Q I wonder if your company on tour might be a kind of modern version of Buddy and his band on tour across America all those decades ago? Is it still tiring and fun and a very full-on way to live?!

A Chris: It’s all of those things! It’s exhausting in a very satisfying way. There’s no greater feeling than being on that stage at the height of the show, it’s the most fun you can have and a privilege to play these songs every night. We often draw the parallels between ourselves and the real life Crickets…at the end of the day, we’re both bands touring the country playing rock and roll every night!

Chris Weeks.
Chris Weeks.

Q What is your favourite moment to do in the show?

A Chris: I love the moment before Rave On in the show. It’s the final gear change moment for me and all of a sudden we go supersonic! We finish the previous song and it’s like standing at the top of a diving board…you know what’s coming and there’s huge anticipation!

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is on at Eden Court now until Saturday, July 22. Tickets and INFO:

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