Merle Haggard Part of Buddy Holly Country Tribute Album, “Remember Me”

photo by Donn Jones Photography/GAC

Merle Haggard, David Frizzell and other country greats gathered at the downtown Hilton in Nashville, Tuesday afternon (Aug. 26), for the announcement of a special album saluting the legendary Buddy Holly. The project, The Buddy Holly Country Tribute: Remember Me, features Merle, David, Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers, T. Graham Brown, Helen Cornelius and Sonny Curtis, one of the original members of Buddy’s band, The Crickets. The album is slated to hit stores and online retailers Sept. 7, which would have been Buddy’s 78th birthday.

David Frizzell spearheaded the project and chose the artists. “I am a big Buddy Holly fan,” David recalled. “This was a very special project to put together.”

David added that Buddy was a particular influence on his brother Lefty Frizzell, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merle remembered hearing Buddy’s music in the late 1950s. “He was one of the people you paid attention to,” Merle said. “He was a big star.”

What especially attracted Merle was that Buddy wrote most of his own material. “It made a difference to me when the artist wrote the song,” Merle noted.

Merle contributes “Remember Me” and the classic “That’ll Be the Day” to the tribute album.

Buddy Holly was considered one of the innovators of early rock ’n’ roll with such songs as “Maybe Baby,” “It’s So Easy” and “True Love Ways.” His music influenced The Beatles, who recorded a cover of Buddy’s “Words of Love,” and British band The Hollies (who took their name from Buddy). Country artists like Vince Gill and Gary Allan also cite Buddy as an influence. Buddy was killed in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, an event imortalized in Don McLean’s anthem “American Pie.”

“His songs stand the test of time,” said Jimmy Fortune at the album announcement. “I’m just honored to be a part of this.”

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