NIKI SULLIVAN (1937 - 2004)
An original Cricket
Niki Sullivan, former guitar player for the legendary Buddy Holly & The Crickets, has died at age 66. He had no previous health problems and in fact was out for a game of golf earlier in the day. Sullivan, raised in Lubbock, Texas, toured and recorded as a member of Buddy Holly's band during their climb to stardom in 1957. He met Buddy and Jerry Allison, the group's drummer, at a jam session in Lubbock in the fall of 1956.
His name will forever be associated with many of Holly's hits, including
'That'll Be The Day', for which he sang back-up vocals and played rhythm
guitar. On 'Peggy Sue', after many attempts, Niki knelt at Buddy's side
and flipped the switch on his guitar, enabling Buddy to achieve that masterpiece
guitar break. In addition to playing rhythm guitar, Niki also did backing
vocals on 'Not Fade Away' and the early, cha-cha version of 'Maybe Baby'.
He is listed a writer on Buddy's classic 'I'm Gonna Love You Too' which
became Holly's third solo Coral single issue. Niki's composition of 'Look
To The Future' was recorded in 1957 by the Picks (who also did backing
vocals for the Crickets) and Gary Tollett. When the Crickets started touring
in early August, 1957, Buddy developed laryngitis and Niki took over the
lead vocal honors. Niki was with the Crickets when they made their historic
appearance at the famed Apollo Theater in New York City. He was also featured
on the cover of the group's 'Chirpin' Crickets' LP on Brunswick as well
as the famous 't-shirt' publicity photos used to promote the group. He
also appeared with the Crickets when they were on the Ed Sullivan Show.
After their appearance on that show, Niki left the group in a situation
still shrouded in mystery.
Adapted from an obituary at www.angelfire.com
Niki Sullivan, musician and songwriter: born June 23, 1937 - died April 6, 2004