From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Charles Hardin Holley, known professionally as Buddy Holly (7 September 1936 – 3 February 1959) was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. The change of spelling of "Holley" to "Holly" came about because of an error in a contract he was asked to sign, listing him as Buddy Holly. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career.
Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.