Dave Stewart was an easy and obvious choice as a Lifetime Legacy Ambassador for The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. One of the principal things that set Buddy apart from his peers at the dawn of Rock & Roll was that he refused to fit into the mold that others in the business sought to put him into. He was far too talented and creative to be contained by someone else’s vision. Unsatisfied with a simple role as singer and performer, Buddy Holly was one of the first artists to write most of his own songs, something that we now take for granted from today’s creative artists, but was rare at the dawn of the era. When Buddy couldn’t get the right sound in the studio, he became a producer, and when he heard music in his head that wasn’t on the track, Holly became a composer and arranger. Buddy Holly was rock’s first truer auteur, but Dave Stewart proves he was not the last.
We honor Dave Stewart because his career and talent reflect the same creative vision. Not satisfied with a role merely as a musician, Mr. Stewart became a music producer, author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and philanthropist. While Buddy’s career was influential and varied, his short time with us prevented him from doing everything that Dave has, but their spirit and style are much the same. In particular, we honor Mr. Stewart because his work transcends the music business and extends to making a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate. His work on the Nelson Mandela project took on racial prejudice and the evil of apartheid, and helped move South Africa towards the democracy it enjoys today. Likewise, his work with Greenpeace and Stand up to Cancer is commendable. While Buddy did not live to see his dream of promoting musical education for youth fulfilled, the Foundation is proud to work with an Artist Ambassador as committed to charitable works as Mr. Stewart is, and look forward to Dave’s work with us promoting musical education.
We should not forget Stewart’s vast musical gifts, however, as Dave was a founder of the Internationally respected Pop/Rock group The Eurythmics, and has enjoyed album sales of more than 100 million globally. A brilliant songwriter just like Buddy, Stewart has written hits – not only for the Eurythmics, such as “Sweet Dreams (Are made of This)” and “Would I Lie to You” – but also for Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Bono, Sinead O’Connor, and Mick Jagger, amongst others. Dave is also a producer, working not just on his own recordings, but on dozens of other artist’s albums too. He has numerous producer, songwriter and Grammy awards, and will likely join Buddy in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame someday. In addition, Dave is still performing world-wide, from his work with the supergroup “Super Heavy,” which he created with Mick Jagger, to the brilliant Americana stylings of “The Blackbird Diaries”, and his recent work, “The Ringmaster General,”” Dave’s music remains as vital as ever.
We also honor Mr. Stewart’s because of his work outside of the music world is also impressive. He’s a well-regarded business author, an entrepreneur who created a media business and partnered with the founder of Microsoft, directed a number of short films and movies, and produced an award-winning documentary on the Blues, one of his passions. Just as with Buddy, Dave Stewart is a visionary and a true Renaissance Man. Maria Elena Holly, Peter Bradley, and the entire Buddy Holly Educational Foundation are proud to honor an artist whose spirit, vision, diversity, and commitment to his craft and to others does justice to Buddy Holly’s memory and his dreams, which we are happy Dave now shares. We proudly present Dave with the “Raining in my Heart” guitar to play and use while a Lifetime Legacy Ambassador.
Dave Stewart Responds:
I am proud and honored to be named a Buddy Holly Educational Foundation Lifetime Legacy Award Winner. Some of my earliest memories involved Buddy Holly, shining out of our little black-and-white television set up in the northeast of England, and crackling through the radio in our tiny kitchen. I remember “That’ll Be The Day” from 1957, I was only 5 years old, but even at that age I knew something was going on! It was one of my first performances; I was banging a wooden spoon along with the beat and singing the chorus. He was Number 1 on the charts, and the whole of Britain was singing his songs.
When I was about 12 years old, I was trying to learn the guitar. I learned from old blues records, Bob Dylan records and Buddy Holly records. I must have played “That’ll Be The Day” five hundred times along with the vinyl until I got it perfected. Now, all these years later, I’m listening all over again to all his subtle nuances and arrangements, the way each story has a beauty and sadness never moving away from the reality that Love, Pain and Time are forever tangled in the best songwriting. Saying something simply with a great melody is one of the hardest things to write when you are delivering truths, but it is something Buddy did effortlessly, as he did on one of the last songs he wrote:
“When you love her and she doesn’t love you
You’re only learning the Game”
“Learning the Game,” from the Apartment Tapes
Buddy also made every song his, whether he wrote them or not, by giving them such crisp stark arrangements that were so precise and allowing his voice to ring true with such honesty and conviction. Buddy was a true artist in every sense of the word. Thank you for allowing me to join with you to honor Buddy Holly’s legacy, and I look forward to working with the Foundation to make Buddy and Maria Elena Holly’s dream of extending musical education, including songwriting, production, arranging, orchestration, and performance, to new generations throughout the world, regardless of income or ethnicity or learning levels.