David Box is best known for his vocals on “Peggy Sue Got Married” but he was much more than just a Buddy Holly replacement. Never reaching his full potential his brief career only gives us hints of what may have been.
Born in 1943 into a musical family Harold David Box was to grow up in an environment where singing and music were a way of life. Given this background it’s not surprising that he developed a well formed singing voice from a very early age. To develop David’s musical abilities further his father, who was a seasoned fiddle player, bought him a guitar, taught him his initial chords and then left him to discover the instrument himself.
David drove himself to learn as much about the possibilities in a guitar as possible, singing along as he developed structure and rhythms. Aside from his family, the biggest influence on David’s playing came along in the form of local boy, Buddy Holly; being from the same town meant that David could see Buddy play live from the very beginning of his career. It was this local success story that spurred David on to concentrate on a musical career, while he was a gifted artist he saw commercial art more as a safety net than a calling. In 1958 he formed the Ravens, a group in the style of the Crickets, and they cut some demos at the local studio. These demos were to give David his first break when he was asked to sing with the Crickets on the strength of the recordings. It was at this session that the Cricket’s version of the classic “Peggy Sue Got Married” was recorded; with David on vocals this is considered to be one of the best songs released by the Crickets after Buddy’s death.
After his session with the Crickets, David returned to Lubbock and completed his schooling. His dream of music hadn’t been extinguished however and thanks to family connections he was to meet, amongst others, Roy Orbison who became not only of his musical influences but also his friend.
After leaving school in 1962, David relocated to Westport where he was studying at the American School of Art. David now recorded in Nashville and after his release “Something Nice” was picked up by local radio stations he found himself on tour with the Everly Brothers. Using this experience he started to hone his studio skills, and in early 1964 recorded “Little Lonely Summer Girl” in Nashville.
After leaving art school David toured the eastern seaboard, whilst on tour “Little Lonely Summer Girl” became a localized hit, especially in and around Houston. To promote the single more fully David traveled to Houston. While he was there he played some gigs and worked alongside the local band Buddy and the Kings where he played gigs. Flying to a local gig in October 1964 the plane crashed and everyone on board was killed – David was only 21 years old
- The 2002 CD release the “David Box Story” has Roy Orbison featuring on some of the backing vocals.
- The West Texas Music Hall of Fame has David in its Best of the West Texas Century for his work with the Crickets and the Ravens.