Tribute to William Frederick Griggs
June 17, 1941-March 29, 2011
The remarkable life of William Frederick
Griggs, known to his friends and fans as Bill, came
to an end on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas,
after a courageous battle with cancer. He was
Bill Griggs was born in
Connecticut on June 17, 1941, on
his mother’s birthday. Throughout his
teenage years, he attended many of the early
rock-n-roll concerts held at the State Theatre in Hartford, including seeing
Buddy Holly and The Crickets. After graduating
high school, Bill attended the
briefly, with hopes of becoming an astronomer.
But being the son of professional musicians, the
“pull” from his love of music was too strong and
would lead him in a direction where be would become
an astronomer of a different sort—he would go on to
tell the world about the “stars” of 1950’s
Bill first visited
Lubbock, Texas in 1968 and was bitten by the love of
Buddy Holly’s hometown. He would continue to
visit to conduct research on the lives and career of
Buddy Holly and The Crickets. His acute-love
of west Texas would
cause him to move to Lubbock in 1981. It
would be his home for the last 30 years of his life.
In that time, Bill Griggs would become known around
the world as THE Buddy Holly historian and authority
and a trusted friend to the Holley family.
Bill Griggs gave an intense effort to get
the story of 1950’s rock-n-roll factually correct.
He produced over 100 magazines/booklets
pertaining to Buddy Holly and The Crickets and
1950’s rock-n-roll. He conducted seven years
of research for his “Buddy Holly-Day By Day”
five-booklet series. For over thirty years, he
and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal writer Bill Kerns
enjoyed a fun-loving debate over Bill Griggs
on-going request that the A-J print a correction in
the paper admitting their mistake in posting that
Ella Holley had given birth to a daughter on
September 7, 1936 when in reality it was a boy,
Charles Hardin Holley, known to the world as Buddy
Holly, who was born on that September day.
Bill made over 50 television appearances,
had over 30 book credits, and over 3,000,000 people
have visited his rockin50s.com
website and message board. Starting in 1978,
Bill held conventions in Connecticut and in
for the fans of Buddy Holly and The Crickets.
Bill emceed numerous rock-n-roll shows across
the country and co-founded
Lubbock’s “Budfest” concert in 1986 and the Clovis Music Festival in 1987.
For 30 years, Bill Griggs published
He became close friends with some of 1950’s
rock-n-roll best known artists, including The
Crickets, Dion, Buddy Knox, Roy Orbison, and many
In recognition of his efforts, MCA Records presented
Bill with multiple gold records for his efforts to
“promote and preserve the legacy of Buddy Holly and
From 1975 until 1991, Bill Griggs created
and ran the Buddy Holly Memorial Society. It
began with one member (him) and when it ended, the
BHMS had over 5,500 members, including all fifty
states and thirty-four different countries.
With all of his accomplishments, Bill was most proud
of this. He said that he was so lucky to have
nearly 6,000 friends from all over the world and
hosting many of these friends during their visits to
Buddy Holly’s hometown.
Over the past three decades, Bill Griggs
conducted thousands of tours of Buddy Holly’s
free of charge. It is simply not debatable
that his efforts made a direct impact on the tourism
Texas. Bill Griggs was
inducted into the West Texas
/Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in July of 2010. At
the reception, Bill repeated what he often said, “I
was not born in
but I got here as soon as I could.” It
can be said that Buddy Holly will always be
Lubbock’s “favorite son” but it seems
that Bill Griggs is
Lubbock’s “favorite cousin”
from out of state. His work will remain in its
role as “keeper of the flame” for Buddy Holly and
The Crickets fans from around the world.
Funeral services for Bill Griggs will be
April 16, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at Lake Ridge Chapel and
Memorial Designers in
Texas. Burial will follow at
Lubbock Cemetery, near the graves of Buddy Holly
and the Holley family, where Bill will forever rest
in peace and continue his watch on all things Buddy
preceded in death by his parents William B. Griggs
and Emma Griggs Giel, and a brother Alan Griggs.
He is survived by his wife, partner, and friend
Sharon Griggs, who stood strongly by his side till
the very end. He is survived by one sister
Jennifer Blevins and husband Steve, six
Nieces and Nephews,
a Step Daughter and Son-in-Law, a Step Grandson, and
And finally, he
is survived and will be missed by everyone who still
loves 1950’s rock-n-roll.
Rave on friends of Bill Griggs, rave on.