Friday, July 8, 2016

Norman & Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum, Clovis, New Mexico

I found the Norman & Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum on Roadside America, which is a site I look at a lot to see if there are any unusual, out of the norm, things to see in an area. The museum is located at 105 East Grand Avenue in the Chamber of Commerce building. The museum is designed to complement the Norman Petty Studios where musicians such as Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox, Roy Orbison and other early rock & roll greats recorded their hits.

The Petty Trio

Norman & Vi Petty were more than just record producers, they were visionaries. Their contributions to rock music continue to inspire recording artists today. Before the Pettys became producers, they were accomplished musicians with several gold records to their name. But, above all else, the Pettys were people who were highly involved in their community, were deeply adored by their friends, and were deeply in love with each other.

Clovis is known worldwide for the “Clovis Sound” made popular by Buddy Holly.  His music was created and recorded in Clovis at the Norman Petty 7th St. Studio. Dozens of popular country, rock, and pop musicians recorded at the Norman Petty Studios – Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, Sonny West, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, Charlie Phillips, Jimmy Bowen, Johnny Duncan, Carolyn Hester, and many others.

Buddy Holly Guitar

Buddy Holly and The Crickets were the most significant group at the studios - they recorded 12 hits at the studios in a 9-month period. Paul McCartney attributes that music as the inspiration for the Beatles. Paul McCartney brought the publishing rights to the Nor-Va-Jak label and has a vested interest in Clovis.

Waylon Jennings

The studios are a treasure that have been shrouded in mystery due to the fact that they have been privately owned and not promoted. Tours have to be booked well in advance. Visitors are turned away disappointed when they can’t see the studios.

The museum is very unique. It has a re-creation of two of the studio's rooms, as well as a 50's diner.

Recreated Soda Booths

1950s Kitchen

19634 Yamaha YDS-3 Sport

Old Phonographs

What a great looking TV counsel - reminds me of the 1950s


Recording Studio

The recording studio shown above includes the original mixing board used during Buddy Holly's recordings.  Other items include memorabilia pertaining to the Pettys themselves.  The museum is dedicated to the Pettys achievements in recording, but also to preserve their spirit and personality.

There are so many neat old radios, stereo sets, and other things from the 50's era.  It kind of brings back memories - especially since we remember a lot of this type furniture in our parents' houses. It was fun looking at everything.

There was also a 20 minute movie presentation telling about the Pettys and their influence with the music industry told by the people who knew them and worked with them.

The current owner receives may offers to sell the studios to the likes of entities such as Hard Rock CafĂ© who want the contents to decorate their cafes; however, fortunately the owner realizes the need to preserve the property and contents and sees the City of Clovis as a means to ensure this.  With this a possibility, by gaining access to the studios and their contents (including items pertaining to Buddy Holly that have not been previously seen), the potential for the city of Clovis and the State of New Mexico to capitalize on this tourist attraction is sizeable in tourism dollars.

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