Joe B. Mauldin, the bassist whose work with The Crickets helped create the early rock ‘n’ roll sound, died on February 7th, according to a report in Rolling Stone. He was 74 years old. Mauldin had been battling cancer before his death.
Born and raised in West Texas, Mauldin was only 17 years old when Buddy Holly brought him in to play bass in the nascent Crickets in 1957. As one of the key members of the Crickets alongside drummer Jerry Allison, Mauldin gave Holly’s songs a country & Western flavor with his upright bass and his playing, which emphasized the root and fifth notes of Holly’s songs.
After Holly’s tragic death in 1959, the Crickets were rattled but soldiered on, bringing in vocalist Earl Sinks and guitarist Sonny Curtis to round out a four-piece version of the band. Mauldin would eventually leave the band to join the Army in 1964; after his service, he became an engineer at Gold Star Studios. In the mid-1970s, Mauldin rejoined the Crickets, and he would remain a part of the band until his death.
Mauldin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012.