Tommy Allsup, Guitarist Of Hundreds Of Artists, Dies At 85

PHOTOGRAPH: Twitter/Austin Allsup | Tommy Allsup dies at 85. Photo Credit: Twitter/Austin Allsup

Famous guitarist Tommy Allsup dies at the age of 85.  He with Bob Wills, Kenny Rogers and other big-time entertainers in the music industry are just some of his famous connections.  He died on January 11 of this year in Springfield, Missouri.  His son, Austin Allsup, who is a singer-songwriter confirmed the death of his father on his Facebook page, with the reasons unrevealed.

Back in 1959, Tommy Allsup should have been on an airplane with Buddy Holly that time.  But, due to an unfortunate coin toss, he lost his seat to Ritchie Valens.  The ones who were on the plane never made it to their gig.  The plane crashed in a cornfield, five miles north of the airport.  It was around 1:00 A.M. on February 3, 1959.  

Everyone thought Allsup died in the crash as well because they found his identification near Buddy Holly’s remains.  However, Tommy Allsup lived to a ripe old age of 85.  After the accident, Allsup, Jennings and Bunch, continued the tour singing Holly’s songs, according to Portland Press Herald.

After Buddy Holly

Tommy Allsup’s career did not die with Buddy Holly.  Instead, it even flourished as the years passed by.  The bandleader at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Johnnie Lee Wills hired Allsup to become part of the band.  Throughout the 1940’s they played as house gig for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.  

Allsup and Wills stayed together for another four years.  He later on worked as a country music player and as a producer in Nashville and Los Angeles.  The rhythm guitar that he possesses has played for the Everly Brothers “Cathy’s Clown”, Charlie Rich’s “Behind closed Doors” and more.  

According to his son, Austin Allsup, he considers the coin toss-defeat, a blessing. He is also so privileged to witness a monumental moment in music history, tells BBC.  Tommy Allsup’s funeral services are going to be next week.  His final resting place will be in Oklahoma, which is near his hometown.  

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About the author

An avid reader, traveler, and earth enthusiast, Rubelle has two permanent roles: a daughter and a wife. But she wants to be a mother too. For the meantime, she works for Red Cross and writes articles for Morning Ledger to keep her busy.