In her autobiography Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue? ©2008, Peggy Sue Gerron– the inspiration for the Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue“– writes of the reverse-discrimination The Crickets endured during their first tour in 1957:
Jerry had told me about some of the problems the four Crickets had encountered on the tour. There was no set show. Acts came and went depending on their availability and the location. On this particular leg of the tour, The Crickets was the only white band riding the bus, which meant that Jerry, Buddy, Joe B., and Niki Sullivan had to become part of the black entertainers’ world.
A busload of blacks couldn’t stop in a white neighborhood to eat at a white restaurant or stay at a white hotel, and the black part of town hadn’t treated the white Crickets much better. Restaurants had refused to seat them, and hotels had refused to allow them to spend the night. If they could, they’d catch a ride to the white side of town, but if they couldn’t, they had to sleep on the bus and rely on their fellow musicians to bring them food. Sometimes, the black headliners had pretended The Crickets were their white valets just to get them into a hotel.
They were touring with acts like Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, so I imagine the learning experience of being with those two greats more than compensated for the inconveniences of their life on the road.
I’d love to know what Domino and Berry thought of the situation. Did they enjoy seeing the tables turned? Or did it just hurt in a new way?