Posted by: cassymuronaka | August 20, 2011

Buddy Holly, Phil Everly and The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Why it took more than half a century for for one of the most influential musicians in the history of Rock and Roll to be slated to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in the recording industry is a profound lesson in the priorities in the world of entertainment. But it’s finally going to happen for Charles Hardin Holley, more famously known as Buddy Holly.

The honor is not arriving due to efforts by the companies who control Holly’s library of music, including Sir Paul McCartney who owns Holly’s entire catalog, according to a Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article, the newspaper in Holly’s Texas hometown. No, it was an LA songwriter and longtime fan, Kevin McGowan, who waged the campaign, with the full support of Holly’s widow, Maria Elena.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Walk, adds about two celebrities a month to the list of more than 2,000 who already have stars.  But the cost of sponsoring a name is $25,000. In this case, it ultimately will be paid by that same group of businesses that has a firm grip on Holly’s musical legacy.

The Avalanche-Journal says that only one posthumous star a year is approved by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the Walk of Fame. This is, of course, because it’s a whole lot harder to get the band to play, the town to turn out, and the media to give coverage to someone who won’t be attending the ceremony, although you’ll never get the Chamber to admit it.

One would have thought that this would not be a problem with the multi-talented Buddy Holly, who was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Phil Everly, one half of the duo that also was at the top of the first Must-Do checklist of the Cleveland rock museum that opened in 1986: the legendary Everly Brothers.

Phil Everly, who was a close friend and touring partner of Holly’s, appears to be have spent the last couple of decades squirreled  away in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, running music-affiliated businesses with his sons, only rarely surfacing for air to do the occasional benefit or make a quiet trips to a home in Tennessee, a state where his older brother Don resides. Don also maintains an office on the Westside.

The fact that Phil Everly lives practically at the epicenter of the entertainment industry, and regularly misses the opportunity to perform publicly in what has become his second hometown, just makes fans like me feel like ramming our heads repeatedly against a wall, or weep into our iPods.

Everly  will be participating in a happy

ceremony honoring and remembering Charles Hardin Holley a few weeks from now on what would have been Holly’s 75th birthday: September 7th.

As a onetime Los Angeles newspaper photographer, I covered several Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, all of which occurred mid-morning, which is the worst time of day to photograph human beings standing outdoors in the sun. This has always seemed to be a rather puzzling and passive-aggressive practice by the Chamber, since its primary directive is to portray the movie, television and recording industry literally in its finest light.

I have to admit that the novelty of the brief ceremonies wears off quickly when it’s hard to find parking with a heavy photo bag on a hot day. (If you are jonesing for a celebrity fix, it’s a lot easier to buzz by the Brentwood Mart or Malibu Country Mart on a weekday, when some stars gently drop from the heavens to shop for lettuce like the rest of us.)

But if there is anything that could get my old ass out the door and cough up for overpriced tourist parking,  it’s the chance to see and hear the reclusive Phil Everly speak at the unveiling of his friend Buddy Holly’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Note to Phil Everly: Honestly, Phil,  if you wake up one day and feel like singing without all the hassle and handlers, I am sure that your talented sons can tell you where in L.A. to stage unpublicized guerrilla concerts in hip little performance spaces that resemble Prohibition speakeasies, places where it’s an adventure just finding a chair in a nearly-pitch black room. And please don’t think me pushy if I suggest that the concerts would be very well timed if either Don or Cliff Richard happened to be in town, too (Just put me on the email list, please).

You also could always break people’s minds by showing up up at the Autry museum, a performance space that has gone under the radar of a lot of people here.

And … no offense, but I see that your Official Everly Family Website isn’t finished and could use a little work on some of its pages. Feel free to give me a shout. I can maybe help you out there…..

THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME:

Paula Abdul
Kirstie Alley
Howie Mandel
Pat Sajak and Vanna White
Charlie Sheen
Lassie and Rin Tin Tin
Jayne Mansfield
Judge Judy
Ricky Martin
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Ed McMahon
Vince McMahon
Joan Collins and Linda Evans
Olivia Newton-John
Chuck Norris
Mötley Crüe
Destiny’s Child
KISS
Adam Sandler
Shrek and Mike Myers
Jacklyn Smith
Wesley Snipes
David Spade
Sharon Stone
John Tesh
Donald Trump
David Hasselhoff
KC and the Sunshine Band
Godzilla

THOSE WHO DO NOT:

Sean Connery
Robert Redford
Janis Joplin
Johnny Cash and June Carter
Fritz Lang
Maureen O’Hara
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
The Rolling Stones
Helen Mirren
Akira Kurosawa
Phil Hartman
Danny Elfman
Jonathan Winters
Ethel Waters
Wolfgang Petersen
Kris Kristofferson
Adam West
Jim Morrison
George Clooney
Randy Newman
Ian McKellan
Merle Haggard
Michael Dunn
Will Smith
Simone Signoret
Nat King Cole
Pedro Almodóvar
Peter Falk
Richard Pryor
Christopher Walken

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Responses

  1. Great article, Cassy. I do, however have one correction for you. Phil Everly said, many times, that he was never a pallbearer at Buddy’s funeral. It’s a rumor. Also, I spoke to Phil right after Buddy died. He said he was going to the funeral – no mention of being a pallbearer. I dated Phil from 1957 to 1959 and am the girl in the above photo sitting between Rock ‘n’ Roll royalty.

    • Thanks Virginia. Wonderful to read your comment! And to know who that girl is in the photo. I will correct the post.

      You must have had a very interesting life. Are you a musician too?


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