Joe B. Mauldin, who helped change the face of popular music as bassist for Buddy Holly and the Crickets, passed away February 7th after a battle with cancer. He was 74 years old.
The Lubbock, Texas native started music early. Born on July 8, 1940, he first recorded with The Four Teens in 1955 at only 15 years old. He joined the Crickets when he was 16. The band, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Holly, became a huge success with songs like “That’ll Be the Day,” “Oh Boy!,” “It’s So Easy,” “Maybe Baby,” and “Think It Over.” Appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show solidified their success and made them pop sensations. Here’s a clip of Mauldin with the Crickets performing “That’ll Be The Day” on the show in 1957:
After Holly’s untimely death in 1959, the Crickets continued playing by backing up the Everly Brothers and releasing several of their own albums. Mauldin served in the Army from 1964 to 1966 and went to work as a recording engineer in Los Angeles after his return. The bassist, along with the Crickets, kept recording and performing throughout their lives, including the 2004 release The Crickets and Their Buddies.
Mauldin was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of the Crickets.
Our thoughts are with Mauldin’s family and friends.