How many 22-year-old singers do we still talk about more than six decades after they died?
At least one: Buddy Holly, whose legacy lives in recordings, movies (Gary Busey was Oscar-nominated for playing him) and stage shows such as "Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story," now playing at the History Theatre after runs in 2015 and 2011. The "play with music" focuses on the three jam-packed years in the late '50s when Holly rose to stardom.
Most music fans know the tragic ending for Holly, who died in an Iowa plane crash that also killed Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and pilot Roger Peterson. But "Buddy!" fills in details of the singer-songwriter whose legacy lives on with great songs like these, all of which are featured in the play:
The song: So simple it sounds like a lullaby, it was a huge influence on British invasion bands such as the Beatles and Herman's Hermits.
Why we still know it: With everyone from James Taylor to Fiona Apple to Kelly Clarkson covering it, "Everyday" has never faded.
'Not Fade Away'
The song: Although legend has it this was the last song Holly performed, it wasn't (that was Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man").
Why we still know it: It's a banger that helped popularize the omnipresent Bo Diddley beat and gave the Rolling Stones an early hit.
The song: "Not Fade Away" was famously the "B" side of a Holly single. This was the "A" side.
Why we still know it: Those earworm lyrics (although you may want to call the song "All My Love" because of the refrain, "All of my love, all of my kissin' / You don't know what you've been a-missin' / Oh boy ...").
'Peggy Sue Got Married'
The song: We're accustomed to movie sequels but this follow-up to "Peggy Sue" is a trailblazing rock song sequel. ("Good idea," thought David Bowie, writing "Space Oddity" sequel "Ashes to Ashes" and opening it by paraphrasing Holly.)
Why we still know it: It also begat a movie, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring a bunch of soon-to-be stars, including Nicolas Cage (Coppola's nephew), Helen Hunt and Jim Carrey.
'That'll Be the Day'
The song: It was a No. 1 hit for Holly although, for legal reasons, it was credited to his band, the Crickets.
Why we still know it: A hit in 1957, it became a smash again when Linda Ronstadt recorded it 19 years later.
'Words of Love'
The song: One of Holly's prettiest songs was his first hit as a composer, although it was the Diamonds' version that charted.
Why we still know it: It's been covered a lot and has the distinction of having been recorded not just by the Beatles but also an ex-Beatle, original drummer Pete Best. The best version may be Patti Smith's gentle take on tribute album "Rave on Buddy Holly."
'Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story'
Who: By Alan Janes. Directed by Ron Peluso.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct. 30.
Where: 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul.
Protocol: Masks required at Friday and Sunday performances.
Tickets: $30-$70, 651-292-4323 or historytheatre.com.