Buddy Holly Bass Player Joe B. Mauldin Has Passed Away

The Crickets, with Joe B. Mauldin at the bottom

Joe B. Mauldin, the long-time bass player for The Crickets and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, has died in Nashville according to The Tennessean. As the backing band for Buddy Holly, and an irreplaceable element of early American music, The Crickets helped forge the sound that would later become an essential building block for successful artists and bands such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and beyond. The name “The Crickets” directly influenced the name for “The Beatles.”

Joe Benson Mauldin, Jr. was born on July 8th, 1940 in Lubbock, TX, and joined Buddy Holly early on along with drummer Jerry Allison, and later guitarist Niki Sullivan. The Crickets were taking a hiatus from Buddy Holly on that fateful February 3rd in 1959 when Buddy Holly’s plane crashed, forever memorialized as “The Day The Music Died.” At the time a young upstart musician named Waylon Jennings was filling in for Maudlin. The Crickets were in a minor spat with Holly at the time, but were hoping to patch things up when the bespectacled star returned home. Joe B. was one of the pall bearers at Buddy Holly’s funeral.

Though The Crickets are mostly associated with Buddy Holly, the band went on to make many appearances and multiple records as their own group, with Maudlin functioning as the long-time bass player. The Crickets released a total of 17 albums after the passing of Holly, including four albums in the 2000’s era.

Beyond The Crickets, Joe B. had a notable career as a musician and sound engineer. Mauldin worked at the Gold Star Studio in Los Angeles in the 1960’s that was used by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Phil Spector among others. He also played on many country records, credited often in liner notes as Joe Benson Mauldin. He played in another band called The Four Teens before joining Holly, and worked as a butcher in Lubbock before Holly hit it big. Though he wasn’t considered an experienced bass player at the time, Joe B. went on to become one of the most influential early bass players in American music.

In 1979, Mauldin, along with fellow Cricket Jerry Allison, purchased a 1959 motorcycle once owned by Buddy Holly and gave it to Waylon Jennings for his birthday. In 2014 the motorcycle was sold at auction and has since been enshrined into the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock.

Mauldin was also the subject of inaccurate death reports in 2012, discredited by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. He was played by actor Charles Martin Smith in the 1978 movie The Buddy Holly Story starring Gary Busey.

Joe B. Mauldin is also a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, and is memorialized on the West Texas Walk of Fame in his hometown of Lubbock. In 2012, a committee made sure that Maudlin and the other original Crickets were formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being overlooked when Buddy Holly was first inducted in 1986.

RIP Joe B. Mauldin

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