Southern Pacific

The largest city in northwest Texas, Lubbock (pop. 252,506) is a busy agricultural center, best known for having given the world Buddy Holly, whose songs (“Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be The Day,” “Rave On”) helped pave the way for rock ’n’ roll. Music fans make the trip downtown to pay homage at the statue of Buddy and to learn about his brief but influential life in the Buddy Holly Center (1801 Crickets Ave., 806/775-3560, Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 1pm-5pm, $8), just west of I-27, off 19th Street. Across the street is a statue of Buddy and a “West Texas Walk of Fame,” remembering the lives and times of Lubbock’s other musical boys and girls made good, including Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, Terry Allen, and Joe Ely.

Buddy Holly’s tragic sudden death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash also took the lives of fellow American rock-and-roll pioneers Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and inspired the Don McLean song “American Pie,” remembering “the day the music died.” Holly is buried near the entrance of Lubbock Cemetery, at the east end of 31st Street (his gravestone uses the “real” spelling of his family name, “Buddy Holley”).