Rest in peace, Peggy Sue Gerron: Buddy Holly & the Crickets, “Peggy Sue” (1957)

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(Above: Jerry and Peggy Sue Allison)

Word has come out of Lubbock, Texas by way of TV station KCBD that Peggy Sue Gerron has passed away at the age of 78.

You likely don’t know her, but you know the song that was written for her. Peggy Sue dated Jerry Allison in high school, and when the band that Jerry was a part of hit it big, she was immortalized in song. Originally Buddy Holly wrote the song as “Cindy Lou,” but changed the title character to match the name of his drummer’s girlfriend.

“Peggy Sue,” of course, went on to become the song that put the band on the map – all the way to the Ed Sullivan show.

As often is the case in these sorts of stories, the storybook romance was short-lived. Peggy Sue got married, of course, to Jerry, but the marriage didn’t last. The KCBD obituary explains that she ended up moving to California and marrying a plumber, going on to become the first licensed female plumber in the state. She returned to Lubbock in 1995 to take care of her mother and stayed there until her death.

Peggy Sue is one of the women mentioned in a book by Michael Heatley called The Girl in the Song, which gives a little bit of backstory behind some of the more obvious (and not so obvious) characters in rock and roll. It’s a fun read, and I should dig it back out soon because “Walk Away Renee” is calling my name for an article. It’s odd sometimes to put a face and a name to a song that you love, and – in this case – it’s even more strange when that subject passes away, leaving an unintended legacy.

You can hear the hit version of “Peggy Sue” by clicking here.

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