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Articles - Diaries > Events of 2004

January: John made singing appearances at churches, Christian Women’s Club, Geological Wive’s Club and other religious and social organizations.

Texas Highways magazine included 2 mentions of Buddy Holly and/or the music. “Thexas Music – Noteworthy!” had pictures and descriptions of many West Texas artists including Buddy Holly. “For the Road” Texas Music A to Z – Handbook of Texas Music was published including rock legend Buddy Holly.


February 24: In celebration of rock’s 50th anniversary, the landmark 1957 debut album from Buddy Holly & the Crickets (including voices of The Tolletts and The Picks) has been digitally remastered, expanded with four bonus tracks (The Roses) and reissued as “The Chirping Crickets [Expanded]”. The 1957 debut album by the Crickets and the only one featuring Buddy Holly released during his lifetime has five songs that are considered among the best rock & roll songs of the 1950s or ever, making this one of the most significant album debuts in rock & roll history.


February 26: John was interviewed by Gary James for his British web site www.storyofthestars.com.


February 28: Super Bowl weekend in Houston, TX, John performed at Second Baptist Church.


February 29: John and Vicky drove to Jackson, MS and on to Nashville, TN on March 1.


March 2-6: In Nashville, John and Vicky attended the induction of longtime friend Jerry “Jaybird” Drennen into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. Also inducted was former Houstonian DJ Dr. Bruce Nelson. Well known country music group “Alabama” was presented a lifetime achievement award. They also enjoyed touring the Country Music Hall of Fame with Jerry and his wife, Joyce. On March 4th, John and Vicky visited with business partner Glenn Warren of Iron County Music Publishing Company and songwriters and publishers Brien Fisher and Donny Clack.  March 6th, John and Vicky toured the home of Elvis Presley, Graceland, in Memphis, TN and were greatly impressed by the exhibits.  They also saw Sam Philip’s Sun Records studio in downtown Memphis. At sunset, they viewed the Mississippi River – the inspiration for John’s new song “Mississippi River Rock and Roll”.


March 11: Vicky and daughter Lisa toured with Houston GeoWives Club to trace the life of Sam Houston. At Independence, TX, Vicky was invited to play the pump organ in the Baptist church where Sam Houston and his family attended in the 1830s.


April: John performed music program for Houston GeoWives club. He also presented 2 musical programs Easter Sunday – the Easter Sunrise Service at Alief Community Church and a service at Houston’s First Baptist Church. John and Vicky were sad to receive news of the death of Crickets singer and longtime friend Niki Sullivan.


May 22: Vicky and John, with other family members in the Dallas area, attended the Pearce High School graduation of grandson Garrett Rees in Richardson, TX.


June: John sang in a meeting at Houston’s First Baptist Church. Texas Highways magazine July issue included article “Lubbock Makes Music Not Fade Away” with mention of Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ music.


July 7: John and Vicky took their first daughter, Lisa Rees, and her two daughters, Rylie, 11, and Jansen, 7, to Lubbock. They stopped in Abilene, Texas, to visit and take pictures of the girls with songwriter, Sonny West. In Lubbock, they toured the Buddy Holly Center and viewed the two bricks in the courtyard with John and Bill Pickering’s names on them. The granddaughters enjoyed touring the Buddy Holly Center and hearing their grandfather’s voice on the Buddy Holly and the Crickets songs. Rylie and Jansen enjoyed a visit with their 90-year old great-grandmother, Pauline Billington. John was in Lubbock visiting with people in preparation for the Sept 4th Fan Fair.


July 14: Ray Rush of The Roses and John Pickering of The Picks met for the third time in 47 years. They first met in 1957 in Clovis, NM. Their second meeting was in Lubbock at the Fair Park Coliseum when a documentary was being filmed in 2002. Ray, John and Vicky enjoyed several meetings together in 2004.


July 16: John and Vicky’s daughter, Paula and family attended baseball tournaments for their 2 sons in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Cooperstown, NY. 


July 22: John Pickering met in Lubbock, Texas, with Barry Barnes and Paul Hussey of Universal Music International. from London, England. Along with a Nashville film crew, Thom Cavin and Tom Zaleski of Travis Television LLC, Mr. Barnes interviewed and filmed John at the Hilton Inn, which overlooks the Buddy Holly statue in downtown Lubbock. A documentary film will be produced and a television show will follow in 2005. The subject matter of the film is the music and musicians involved with Buddy Holly in the 1950s and discussions of the songs on which they sang. Also interviewed that day were songwriter, Sonny West (Oh, Boy!” & “Rave On”); DJ and promoter, Larry Byers; singer, Jack Neal; and Peggy Sue Gerron. Later that evening an enjoyable time was spent at the Bill and Sharon Griggs home by several of the group.


July 30: John and Ray Rush took a drive to Ray’s hometown of Devers, Texas, where John, in his petroleum geologist career, drilled an oil well near the town over 20 years ago. Conversation was centered on the Holly music of 1957 and 1958. Ray is also living in the Houston area.


August 11: The September issue of “Texas Highways” magazine featured a photo of Buddy Holly seen in two different locations, one with a short article in the “30 Lone Star Music Moments”. The allure of his music continues to resound nearly 50 years after his death. Also included was an announcement in “Spotlight on …Music” “Oh, Boy (Oh, Boy) of the 4th Annual “Not Fade Away: Buddy Holly Music Symposium” to be held in Lubbock September 2-5, 2004. In “Talk to TH” there was a letter to the editor from Vicky Pickering referring to an article in a previous issue about Texas music and musicians – an ongoing series for the year 2004. The magazine appeared in stores later in the month and online in September – www.texashighways.com.


August 18-20:  John was in Sound Master recording studio to record 6 more songs.


August 19: Vicky Pickering and Houston Geological Auxiliary committee helped with registration at the Houston Geological Society (HGS) “Technofest” held at the Westchase Hilton in Houston. John, a petroleum geologist as well as a singer, is a member of the HGS.


August 23: John and Vicky celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. They appreciated calls, cards and messages from music industry acquaintances including Ray Rush of The Roses, songwriter, Sonny and wife, Dottie West, member of “The Picks” Bob and wife, Mary Lapham as well as family and  friends. Bill Pickering and Bob Lapham of The Picks were attendants at their wedding in 1957. Vicky and John were married between the recording of the backup vocals on “Oh Boy” (July) and “Maybe Baby” (October).


September 2–5: John Pickering was in attendance at the 4th annual “Not Fade Away: Buddy Holly Music Symposium” in Lubbock, Texas.


September 4: John and other singers that sang on the Buddy Holly and the Crickets records were in attendance at the Fan Fair and luncheon. Artists sold records, signed autographs and posed with fans for pictures. The Pickering’s guests included Lubbock relatives Pauline Billington, and Roxanne, Ryker and Ramsey Curl.


September 5: John joined other musicians in a Gospel Concert produced by drummer Carl Bunch at the Buddy Holly Center. John sang solos as well as performed with the group. The event was filmed for a documentary.


October 2: Vicky Pickering, 3rd Vice President of the Houston Geological Auxiliary, and her committee registered guests at the Houston Geological Society annual Shrimp Peel held at the Sam Houston Racetrack.


October 24-31: John and Vicky Pickering joined Bill and Sharon Griggs in Galveston, Texas where they boarded the “Rhapsody Of The Seas” for a 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise. They went to Key West, Florida, Costa Maya, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico. John sang "Statue of a Fool” in the talent show and received a trophy inscribed “Talent Show Star – Royal Caribbean International." [See August 2007; March 2016.]


November 7: Bill and Sharon Griggs, Ray Rush, Pat and Jim Schuman were guests in the Pickering’s home.


         Texas Highways magazine, Nov 2004 issue article “Texas Music Listen Up! Essential Texas Records” mentioned “Buddy Holly, The Buddy Holly Collection” (MCA, 1993) 50-song, 2-CD compilation.


December: Texas Highways magazine had the  column “For The Road” in which it mentioned the CD “Stay All Night”, a tribute to Buddy Holly’s influences and roots.


Dec 6: Ray Rush's birthday.