Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly tribute Friday night in Chilliwack

Buddy Holly: a Tribute by Johnny Vallis, May 10 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

The death of Buddy Holly in 1959 was the first rock and roll tragedy, says tribute artist Johnny Vallis.

Vallis and a live band are on their way to Chilliwack to perform a Buddy Holly tribute show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 10.

It will be straight up authentic old-time rock and roll, right off the floor with vintage instruments.

“Buddy Holly had an impact with his music, but he also had an impact when he passed away,” Vallis tells the Progress. “His fans realized they weren’t invincible, and after his death music seemed to change dramatically. He was the first rock and roll tragedy.”

Holly, who was born Charles Hardin Holley, had a very short career but is recognized as  “the single most influential creative force” in early rock.

Vallis replicates both the iconic look and the sound as he rolls out Holly’s big hits, That’ll Be The Day, Words of Love, Not Fade Away, Oh Boy, Peggy Sue, Maybe Baby, Rave On!, Heartbeat and more.

“The songs are so short, we can do all the major hits!”

Vallis toured as Holly with Legends Of Rock and Roll, and Legends In Concert. The idea was born to recreate the show as never before, with songs the Vallis never had a chance to perform with The Legends.

He added an upright bass player ‘Big Daddy Bo’, Rob Dewingaerde on drums and Hank Engel on guitar.

“We’ve gone back to creating this the way you would have seen Holly live.”

They’re playing vintage instruments and are infused with the spirit of rock and roll, says Vallis.

Funnily enough he got into the business as Elvis.

“But there were so many of them. I was tall and thin, and had more of a resemblance to Buddy. I seem to be unique as there are not as many.”

He’s honed the craft carefully, listening to the complete Buddy Holly recordings, including the garage tapes and live moments to really “get a sense” of the era.

Holly hit the scene in 1957 and was gone by 1959.

Something folks don’t know?

“His focus was on the future. He was a very smart individual when it came to publishing and he would have been innovative.”

Buddy Holly, a Tribute by Johnny Vallis, Friday May 10 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, Chilliwack.

Tickets are $29.50 (Plus Facility Fee & Service Charges) at the Centre Box Office.

Charge by phone at 604-391-SHOW (7469)

or online at www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.

Check out www.johnnyvallis.com