CLEAR LAKE — Another chapter in rock ’n’ roll history was composed Saturday night at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.
The largest-ever reunion of Crickets band members was held as part of the annual Winter Dance Party. The Crickets then announced to the sellout crowd that Saturday night’s performance was their last — the end of an era dating to 1957.
The Winter Dance Party is held every year at the Surf to celebrate the music and era of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.R. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who died in a plane crash near Clear Lake shortly after performing at the Surf Feb. 2, 1959.
The Crickets were formed in Lubbock, Texas, by Buddy Holly and J.I. Allison. Stand-up bassist Mauldin was recruited shortly after, and Saturday night’s reunion was a tribute to him, commemorating his passing Feb. 7, 2015.
Among performers at the Surf was original Cricket Allison, along with Albert Lee, Glenn D. Hardin, Tommy Allsup, Tonio K., Gordon Payne, Keith Allison and The Killer Vees.
The Crickets have appeared at the Surf numerous times, especially during the Winter Dance Party.
Jeff Nicholas, president of the Surf Ballroom board of directors, called Saturday night “one of the most magical nights at the Surf.”
“This was rock ’n’ roll history,” he said. “To have the Crickets play their final show at the Surf Ballroom leaves us with mixed emotions. We were honored and happy to have been chosen as their last show, but it was sad to see the ending of an era.”
Allison called it a “fantastic night.”
“Rock ’n’ roll is here to stay,” he said. “We love the Surf Ballroom. The people of Iowa are too cool.”
The Crickets were one of the first self-contained rock ’n’ roll bands, writing, playing, producing and recording their own material. They were also among the first to use overdubbing and multi-track recording. And they were first to make rock ’n’ roll accessible to their audience with their format of guitar, drums and bass.
Mauldin was ranked among the top rock bassists by the “Book of Lists” and became a recording engineer at the legendary Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles.