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RIP Peggy Sue Gerron, the Subject of Buddy Holly’s Classic Song

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The west Texas woman immortalized in Buddy Holly’s classic song “Peggy Sue” has passed away at the age of 78. Peggy Sue Gerron died on Monday, October 1, at University Medical Center in Buddy Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas.

Gerron hailed from nearby Olton, Texas. While attending Lubbock High School in the 1950s, she dated Jerry Allison, who would become the drummer in Holly’s band the Crickets. The song that bears her name wasn’t originally written about her. Its first title was “Cindy Lou,” a reference to Holly’s niece. When Allison and Peggy Sue briefly broke up, the drummer wanted to find a way to impress her, so according to music legend, Allison asked Holly to change the title. “Peggy Sue” raced up billboard charts in 1957, peaking at No. 3 and becoming a true classic.

RIP Peggy Sue Gerron, the Subject of Buddy Holly's Classic Song

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

She first met Holly during high school when the hurried young musician knocked her over accidentally. Gerron told the story to the BBC in 2013, “He ran over to me, guitar in one hand, amp in the other, and said, ‘I don’t have time to pick you up, but you sure are pretty.’”

The first time she heard the now-legendary song, it was at a Crickets’ gig in the school auditorium. “I was just delighted,” Gerron told the BBC. “It was a fascinating song. It’s really hard to stand still when you’re listening to ‘Peggy Sue.’”

RIP Peggy Sue Gerron, the Subject of Buddy Holly's Classic Song

Photo: Facebook/Peggy Sue Gerron

After graduating high school, she married Allison. The marriage was the subject of a sequel song by Holly. “Peggy Sue Got Married” was released posthumously, following the Day the Music Died, Holly’s tragic plane crash on February 3, 1959, in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Gerron traveled with the band after they reformed. The couple ultimately divorced sometime in the 1960s, after which Peggy Sue attended college in California and worked as a dental assistant. She would go on to remarry, help her new husband with his plumbing business, and have two children. Gerron was also the first licensed female plumber in the state of California, as well as an enthusiastic ham radio operator later in life. She returned to Lubbock in 1995 to take care of her mother, who was ill.

Her memoir was published in 2008, titled “Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?” Friends and family remember her as a kind and generous woman. Peggy Sue Gerron will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Buddy Holly fans around the world.