When Los Angeles music journalist Jim Dawson wrote to ex-Beatle John Lennon in 1974, he included a short questionnaire along with his letter asking about the influence that singer-songwriter Buddy Holly and his backing band The Crickets had had on Lennon and other British musicians of that era.
Somewhat uncharacteristically, the often sarcastic and irreverent Lennon returned the questionnaire complete with factual and informative answers, revealing that Holly had greatly influenced him and his writing partner Paul McCartney. To fans of both The Beatles and Buddy Holly, news of this influence will probably come as no surprise, but as a casual listener I had absolutely no idea that Holly had made such an impact on the British music scene.
I have reproduced the completed questionnaire below, and have preserved Lennon's somewhat erratic capitalization and punctuation.
1. How did you personally react to the Crickets' tour of England in 1958?
i only saw them on the london palladium (on T.V.) he was great! it was the first time i saw a fender guitar! being played!! while the singer sang!!! also the 'secret' of the drumming on Peggy Sue was revealed...live...
2. What effect do you think it had on British musicians?
i only know its effect on me. but i reckon the records had the biggest effect on all of us. EVERY GROUP TRIED TO BE THE CRICKETS.
the name BEATLES was directly inspired by CRICKETS (DOUBLE ENTENDRE / INSECTS etc...)
i think the greatest effect was on THE SONG WRITING (ESPECIALLY MINE AND PAULS)
3. What do you think of Buddy Holly, musically and historically?
he was a great and innovative musician. he was a 'MASTER'. his influence continues.
i often wonder what his music would be like now, had he lived...
4. Do you think his music had any effect on the style of the Beatles? On your own feelings towards music?
see above. we did practically everything he put out. I.E. at the cavern etc, etc. what he did with '3' chords made a songwriter out of me!!
5. Other remarks?
he was the first guy i ever saw with a capo. he made it O.K. to wear glasses! i WAS buddy holly.
The questionnaire is signed, "love, John Lennon".
There's a bespectacled smiley in the bottom right hand corner.
Source : "John Lennon's Letter About Buddy Holly" at http://electricearl.com/dawson/lennon.html