The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake once again hosts its tribute to fifties music this weekend. Owner Kevin Schoeneman says the grandsons of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson will be among the entertainers. The Nelson Brothers perform as well as Wanda Jackson, the Lustre Kings, and Tommy Allsup and Friends. He explains Tommy Allsup was the guitar player who was playing with Buddy Holly the night he died in Iowa, and lost a coin toss to get onto the plane, a flip won by the Big Bopper.
Forty-seven years ago Buddy Holly was part of a “Winter Dance Party” package of rock’n’roll musicians on a tour of the Midwest in January, and after their performance in Iowa, he died in a plane crash just a few miles away from the Mason City airport.
People come from 35 states or so, as well as Canada, Australia, and Europe, mostly from England and Scandinavia. He says some come for the music and some for the reunion — they don’t have any other way to hook up with old friends from say, Texas. Schoeneman says they gather at the Surf Ballroom to rekindle old friendships. The midwinter event has been held since 1979 at the Surf Ballroom, and its highlight will be Saturday evening with a tribute to Bob Montgomery, a songwriter who worked with the performer.
Buddy Holly’s first band was called “Buddy and Bob,” after partner Bob Montgomery who wrote hits including “Heartbeat,” “Wishin’,” “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” and after his death producers compiled an entire album of Holly singing Montgomery’s songs titled “Holly in the Hills.” For ticket information and directions to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, surf to its website at:www.surfballroom.com.