Tommy Allsup

Musician & Producer

Western Swing guitarist and music producer Tommy Allsup was born on his Cherokee mother’s land allotment near Owasso, Oklahoma. The twelfth of thirteen children, the musical family moved to Claremore. In 1947, as a sophomore in high school, Tommy organized a Western- style band called the Oklahoma Swing Billies. After high school he became a member of Johnnie Lee Wills and All The Boys band playing in Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. Later, in Lawton, Oklahoma Tommy fronted his own band in the Southern Club. After meeting Buddy Holly in 1958, he toured with Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It was winter 1959 when Buddy Holly after a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, hired a pilot to take them to Fargo, North Dakota. Ritchie Valens, had never flown before, flipped a coin with Tommy for a place on the plane. Holly and Valens were killed along with the Big Bopper, on February 3, 1959, when for unknown reasons, the plane crashed. Tommy led The Crickets, which included Waylon Jennings, and finished the tour. He continued his life in music as a session guitarist and record producer. He played a major role in putting swing into country music. He produced recordings featuring his guitar style, including “The Buddy Holly Songbook Featuring the Guitar of Tommy Allsup.”

Interview with Tommy Allsup

Program Credits:
Tommy Allsup — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator
Anne Hall — Transcriptionist

Bobby Vee interview courtesy – Larry Gauper – Fargo, North Dakota

Photo Credits: Home page slide – Tommy Allsup with guitar. Courtesy Nick Barber,

Date Created: September 8, 2011, Recorded at the home of Guy Logsdon

Date Published: February 3, 2012

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.