Lubbock remembers Buddy Holly and The Crickets drummer J.I. Allison

Jerry Ivan “J.I.” Allison dies at age 82
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Jerry Ivan Allison, also known as J.I. was a drummer for Buddy Holly and The Crickets. He passed away on Monday at the age of 82.

J.I. helped Buddy Holly and The Crickets write many smash hits. He started his legacy as a drummer, and helped write classic rock songs such as “That’ll Be The Day”, which became their debut single.

J.I. and Buddy Holly met in the 1950s, and began playing together as a duo. Holly played the guitar and took care of the vocals, while J.I. played the drums. They soon met bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and after connecting, the three became a trio known as The Crickets. They went on to craft hit after hit.

Don Caldwell, the owner of Caldwell Entertainment said he met J.I. in 1962.

“We did a lot of events over the years and worked together and laughed and hollered and had a good time,” Caldwell said. ”J.I. was a great guy.”

They shared a lot of laughs together and Caldwell thought very highly of J.I.

“J.I. was the honoree. He was a character. He was funny, and again he was the energy of every room you walked into that he was sitting in,” Caldwell said. “I’m just gonna miss saying hey, every once in a while to him. It’s a big loss to everyone.”

J.I. studied the drums in high school. Caldwell said he was a great drummer because he had real knowledge about playing them and how they worked.

“The thing about rock and roll bands is the energy in the spark plug,” Caldwell said, “If you don’t have a drummer that’s driving it all the time, it’s not going to work. And J.I. was a spark plug.”

Caldwell said J.I. always brought something extraordinary to the music.

“I think J.I.’s impact internationally was overwhelming,” Caldwell said, “In some of the magazines, he’s listed as the top four, one of the top four rock and roll drummers of all time.”

Caldwell says anyone who has played rock and roll, pop music, or the drums knows who J.I. Allison is.

“But he was original. The music that J.I. and Buddy and all those guys created, there was no prototype. They started the deal,” Caldwell said, “J.I. brought all of his knowledge to the table and in every one of those records and there is a particular iconic thing about all of those records that has to do with the drum parts that are played on all of them, and J.I. brought all that to the table.”

J.I. Allison was truly one of a kind.

Caldwell says, “I think that you can’t say enough about what J.I. brought to the table that made those records hits. He was a real catalyst for making those things work.”