The Real Peggy Sue

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Who was the real Peggy Sue?

Peggy Sue

The Real Peggy Sue

Which is Buddy Holly’s most famous song? I’m not sure but Peggy Sue must be up there. But who was the real Peggy Sue?

Peggy Sue Gerron was the girlfriend of Buddy Holly’s drummer, Jerry Allison.

As she recalls,the inspiration for the song arrived in the middle of the night and Buddy called his manager, Norman Petty,  saying ‘I’ve just written a song and named it after Jerry’s girlfriend’.

Evidently Buddy Holly had first met Peggy Sue when he performed at a high school concert in Sacramento. He was late arriving and in his hurry, knocked her over. Three weeks later, she started dating the drummer, Jerry.

Jerry had left the band before the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly. He and Peggy Sue eventually married.

Therefore she claims that two of Buddy songs are about her – the other being of course Peggy Sue Got Married. This was recorded not in a studio but on a home tape recorder and was released after Holly’s death.

In the mid nineteen sixties,Peggy Sue broke up with her husband Jerry. She went to college and became an unglamorous dental assistant. She married again and became – a plumber. She was the first female licensed plumber in the state of California.

In 2008 she wrote and published her autobiography entitled Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue? She said that the material came from her diaries written during the time she knew Buddy Holly.  She said “We were very very good friends. He was probably one of the best friends I ever had.”

True or not?

Not according to Buddy Holly’s widow, Maria Elena. She said “It’s interesting that this woman makes up these stories. He never considered Peggy Sue a friend.” She maintained that Jerry had asked Buddy to change the song to ‘Peggy Sue’.

Buddy’s brother, Larry, is adamant that the original title for the song was that of Buddy’s niece, Cindy Lou.


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting stuff! I love listening to Buddy Holly – my Dad’s influence. I was aware the person was real but not who she was, though I had come across the ‘Cindy Lou’ reference somewhere… 🙂

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