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Tommy Allsup: A Life Blessed by a Coin Toss

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The music industry has lost a piece of history this past week with the death of Tommy Allsup. At the age of 85, Allsup lived a life that many admired not just for his talent, but for the type of man that he was. Just a week after his son, Austin Allsup (featured on “The Voice”), requested prayers for his father’s health, Tommy passed away on January 11.

The Legendary Coin Toss

Tommy Allsup: A Life Blessed by a Coin Toss

Photo: Wikipedia

His rise to fame came as a member of the infamous Texas Playboys, accompanying Bob Wills. A guitar player with a pronounced skill, he worked on such hits as “It’s So Easy” by Buddy Holly, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, and “Cathy’s Clown” by the Everly Brothers. There’s also the not-so-small matter of a lost coin toss. Tommy and Ritchie Valens famously flipped a coin over who was going to fly and who was going to drive on their way to their gig in Minnesota, which resulted in Tommy avoiding the plane crash that took the lives of Valens, Buddy Holly, and The Big Bopper in 1959.

A Lifetime of Achievement

Tommy Allsup: A Life Blessed by a Coin Toss

Photo: Wikipedia

In honor of the coin toss, which his son said he felt “blessed by,” he eventually opened Tommy’s Heads Up Saloon in Dallas, but he also maintained his path in the industry, continuing work with Bob Wills and other such greats as Waylon Jennings (who also gave up his seat on the same plane), Willie Nelson, and many more artists, ultimately becoming a producer, talent scout, and commercial development representative for Liberty Records.

Loved By Many, Liked By All

Tommy Allsup: A Life Blessed by a Coin Toss

Photo: Facebook/Austin Allsup

Tommy, who was a huge Rockabilly and Western Swing devotee, is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Austin has received condolences from many, including Ritchie Valens’ sister, who reached out to him shortly after hearing the news. “I told her in my message back, now my dad and Ritchie can finally finish the tour they started 58 years ago,” he told ABC News.



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