As a direct result of this performance Holly was offered a contract with Decca Records. Then on Feb 8,1956, when signing the contract he changed his name from "Holley" to "Holly". During his first recording session he put down the classic rocker "That'll Be The Day", which took its title from a phrase that John Wayne's character used in The Searchers 1956
Many of the songs that he was later to compose including "That'll Be The Day" feature a vocal "hiccup" pioneered in the main by Elvis Presley to break-up certain words
Buddy Holly toured Australia for Lee Gordon in 1958. That same year he met Maria Elena Santiago while she was working as a receptionist for Peer-Southern Music. Legend tells us that he proposed to her on their very first date and they were married in Lubbock Texas 15 August 1958, just two months after they met.
Although his success lasted only 18 months before his death in an airplane crash (which also took the lives of fellow musicians Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper) Holly is described by Historians (next to Chuck Berry) as one of the most influential creative forces in early Rock n Roll, profoundly influencing The Beatles & The Rolling Stones. The Stones were to record a cover of Holly's "Not Fade Away" Buddy Holly's funeral held on Feb 7, 1959 at
the Tabernacle Baptist Church. He was buried in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.
His headstone carries the correct spelling of his surname (Holley) and a carving of his Fender Stratocaster guitar. Note: Buddy's widow Maria Elena was two weeks pregnant at the time of his death. She would ultimately miscarry and loose the baby. Maria did not attend the funeral.