February 7, 2015- Joe B Mauldin was born on July 8th 1940 as Joseph Benson Mauldin, Jr. in Lubbock, Texas. Mauldin began studying stand-up bass in 1954 after borrowing one from his school.
He started his musical journey playing in a local band called The Four Teens with a young Terry Noland in 1955, before joining Buddy Holly’s Crickets in ’57. Their first hit record was “That’ll Be the Day”, released in 1957. The single became No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in Billboard magazine, which was followed by hits such as “Peggy Sue”, “Not Fade Away”and “Rave On” .
They helped set the template for subsequent rock bands such as the Beatles, with their guitar-bass-drums arrangements and tendency to write their own material. Joe was a double-bassist and together with drummer J.I. Allison he pioneered rock and roll as they became one of the most influential rhythm sections in the business that shaped early rock and roll.
After Buddy’s death in 1959, he played on and off for over 54 years as an original Cricket with J.I. Allison, Sonny Curtis, Glen D. Hardin and with Niki Sullivan on occasion, and he remained a vital member of the band until his death. But in 1964, he enlisted in the Army, after which he moved to Los Angeles where he became a recording engineer at Gold Star Studios, the Los Angeles studio that became the hit factory for Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and other major 1960s rock performers, before re-joining the Crickets in the early-mid ’70s.
In 1978, the award-winning film, The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey as Buddy Holly, presented an engaging but somewhat inaccurate depiction of the band’s early years. Allison and Joe’s names were altered as Jesse Charles and Ray Bob Simmons, while Niki Sullivan, Sonny Curtis, Bob Montgomery, Don Guess & Larry Welborn were written out of the film altogether which made them vote their portrayal as negative.
Through the 80’s, 70’s and 2000s, Joe along with The Crickets continued to tour the world many times to sold out venues. More recently The Crickets released “The Crickets and Their Buddies” in 2004, which features several classics from all parts of their career featuring guest appearances by several prominent artists including Eric Clapton, Rodney Crowell, Waylon Jennings, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Graham Nash, Bobby Vee, Tonio K. and more.
Joe was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee as an original Cricket. In 2012, he was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Crickets by a special committee, aimed at correcting the mistake of not including the Crickets with Buddy Holly when he was first inducted in 1986. Sadly Joe was too ill to attend.
He died from cancer on 7 February 2015 at the age of 74.
“The best way I can explain Joe B. is that he was really a gentle soul and a gentle man. He never caused anybody any trouble and he was a great bass player,” Jerry Allison said. “He knew exactly what to play, and when Buddy and Joe B. and I were playing together Joe B. didn’t play too much. He played just right. … He was right on beat. It was just good.”