Guitarist Extraordinaire Tommy Allsup Dies at 85
Tommy Allsup, long time guitarist for Texas rock and roll icon Buddy Holly, has passed away at the age of 85.
Allsup was one of the first legendary rockabilly artists of the 1950s music scene. Tommy not only played with Buddy Holly, but also Richie Valens and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson.
It was Allsup who made a life changing coin toss years ago. When Allsup was on tour with Holly, Valens, and Richardson, Buddy Holly offered Richie Valens’ seat to Allsup who decided the fair way to decide who got the seat was to flip a coin. Valens won the coin toss, and Allsup road by bus with the rest of the band.
Unfortunately, that flight never completed its route. The airplane carrying Holly, Valens, and Richardson crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa. That day became known as “The Day the Music Died.”
Following the crash, Allsup turned his attention to doing session and production work in Texas, Los Angeles, and Nashville . He also collaborated with dozens of artists, including Kenny Rogers, Roy Orbison, and Willie Nelson.
Allsup is survived by his son, Austin Allsup, who is quite an artist himself. Austin competed on the most recent season of NBC’s The Voice.