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Buddy Holly all-star tribute concert to premiere on PBS on Dec. 3

October 27, 2011 | 12:45 pm

Chris Isaak and Michelle Branch perform a Buddy Holly number at a tribute to the 1950s rock 'n' roller at the Music Box in Hollywood on Sept. 7.

This post has been updated. See below for details.

PBS will premiere “Buddy Holly: Listen To Me/The Ultimate Buddy Party” on Dec. 3 with performances of his songs by Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett, Graham Nash, Raul Malo, Paul Anka, Boz Scaggs and several others at a 75th birthday concert staged last month in Hollywood.

The 60-minute special captures 17 of Holly’s best-known songs along with a couple of obscurities from the Sept. 7 show at the Music Box in Hollywood, where Cobra Starship, Patrick Stump, Shawn Colvin and emcee-singer Peter Asher also gathered to celebrate Holly’s music. Others in attendance included Holly’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, and Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, who with his brother, Don, toured with Holly before his death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash. He would have turned 75 on Sept. 7.

The event also incorporated taped messages from other high-profile Holly fans, including Ringo Starr, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne and Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle.

Nicks sang “Not Fade Away” and “It’s So Easy”; Isaak and Michelle Branch dueted on “Heartbeat”; Nash, Scaggs and Asher teamed up for “Rave On”; Stump sang “Oh, Boy!”; and Malo handled the ballad “True Love Ways.” An all-star ensemble, also including guitarists James Burton and Albert Lee and a cameo vocal by Everly, finished the show with “That’ll Be the Day.”

A DVD from the concert will be available as a thank-you gift to PBS subscribers who pledge at a prescribed amount during the December fundraising drive. The concert was staged conjunction with the release of the second of two Holly tribute albums this year: "Listen to Me: Buddy Holly," which featured most of the same performers at the Music Box show. The other album, "Rave On Buddy Holly,"  featured another batch of Holly devotees, including Paul McCartney, Nick Lowe, Lou Reed, She & Him, Patti Smith and Cee Lo Green, offering new takes on his music.

Update, 5:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said a DVD of the concert would be issued next year. The DVD will be offered during pledge drive as a thank you to subscribers. 


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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Michelle Branch and Chris Isaak sing Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat" at the Music Box in Hollywood in September. Credit: Lester Cohen / WireImage.