Picks member John Pickering, a Holly Backup singer, dies within the Houston-Life-style-Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

John Winton Pickering, 77, died of a stroke in Houston on February 28, according to his wife Vicky Pickering.

Her husband worked as an oil geologist for 53 years, she said.

Music fans and especially fans of the late Buddy Holly will remember Pickering as a member of the singing group The Picks.

The picks sing to Buddy Holly & The Crickets on nine of the songs from the 2011 retrospective “Buddy Holly, Not Fade Away”.

The Trio – John Pickering, leading role; Brother Bill Pickering, tenor; and baritone friend and Texan tech student Bob Lapham made their name as The Picks when asked in 1957 by producer Norman Petty to provide harmony backup vocals on nine Holly songs on the Brunswick LP “The Chirping Crickets” Dubbing records.

This was the only album released while Buddy Holly was still alive.

The songs improved by The Picks were “Oh Boy”, “Maybe Baby”, “Tell Me How”, “It’s Too Late”, “Rock Me My Baby”, “Send Me Some Loving”, “An Empty Cup”, ” Last night ”and“ You have love ”.

A Picks website mentions that The Picks were named “Most Promising Group” in 1957.

However, the picks never received recognition for their work on “The Chirping Crickets” during Holly’s lifetime. It wasn’t until 30 years later, when MCA Records re-released “The Chirping Crickets” in 1987, that fans found out about the Picks’ involvement.

Bill Pickering, a former KLLL-FM disc jockey who played Holly’s first Decca single “Blue Days, Black Nights”, died on January 25, 1985.

Lapham, a former newspaper editor, is retired from Abilene. He also wrote a novel called “Meet Me At The River Buddy Holly,” which juggles fact and fiction in a fun way.

John Pickering, Vicky said, has also performed with The Pickering Brothers, The Pickering Family Quartet, and various other musical ensembles.

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