Two members of the Crickets who played with Buddy Holly in 1958 have questioned the accuracy of an article published March 11 on SanLuisObispo.com about an Arroyo Grande man who said he played with the famous musician when he was 17 years old.
The Tribune contacted them after some individuals questioned the accuracy of the story.
Terry Dahlgren of Arroyo Grande told The Tribune that as a teenager in Akron, Ohio, he was called in August 1958 by the promoter of a tour that Holly and the Crickets were performing in and asked if he could play guitar with the group that afternoon. Dahlgren said that after that show in Cleveland, Holly asked him to get on the bus to tour as a member of the Crickets.
Crickets drummer and founding member Jerry Allison said in a telephone interview from his home in Tennessee on Sunday that he didn’t know Dahlgren and that the Crickets never had local performers play with them on tours.
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“I don’t remember him,” Allison said. “We never had anyone fill in, ever.”
Allison said that details of Dahlgren’s story were untrue, including that the band traveled by bus then. “We didn’t have a bus then,” Allison said.
Guitarist Tommy Allsup, who joined the Crickets in May 1958 and played with Holly until Holly’s death in February 1959, also said Dahlgren never played with the group during its Summer Dance Party tour in July 1958, Biggest Show of Stars tour in October 1958, or the Winter Dance Party tour in early 1959.
“I never heard of this guy,” said Allsup in a telephone interview from his home in Missouri. “I was there during the time he’s talking about, and he was not there.”
Asked if the Crickets ever had local guitarists play with the group during the tour, Allsup said, “absolutely not.”
Other fact-checking by The Tribune shows that many of the details of Dahlgren’s story conflict with the documented history of the 1958 tours of Buddy Holly and the Crickets.
In two telephone calls on March 15 and 16, Dahlgren maintained that he did play with Buddy Holly and the Crickets for several shows on tour in 1958, although he said he may have been wrong about being called in August and that he was definitely wrong about first playing with the band in Cleveland, that it had been in Akron. He also said he could not remember how many concerts he played or what cities he went to. He said he was not on Holly’s final tour in 1959.
Told that Allsup and Allison called his story false, Dahlgren said he never played with them. “I played with Carl Bunch and Waylon Jennings” in 1958 when the Crickets were touring with Holly, he said.
Documentation of the tours, however, shows that Holly didn’t tour with Bunch and Jennings in 1958. Holly did tour with Bunch, Jennings and Allsup in the 1959 Winter Dance Party tour in which Holly was killed in the Feb. 3, 1959, plane crash.
Dahlgren has been unable to provide The Tribune with any evidence that he played with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, such as mementos, memorabilia, photos or people who could corroborate his story. In The Tribune’s efforts to fact-check the story, the newspaper was unable to find any mention of Dahlgren in relation to Buddy Holly.