Buddy Holly's Widow Entrusts BMG With the Rock Icon's Catalog, Image

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Buddy Holly and The Cricketts photographed in 1958.

Buddy Holly's widow has entrusted the publishing rights for the rock icon's influential catalog to BMG in a newly announced arrangement. This marks the first time since the singer's death in 1959 that someone other than Maria Elena Holly will be the custodian to Holly's song catalog and overall image.

"For almost 60 years Buddy's loving fans and I have worked to bring his creativity to successive generations of fans and I have been looking for a steward to lead those efforts into the future," Holly said. "I am very happy to announce that I have entrusted Buddy's legacy to BMG."

According to BMG, the deal covers the U.S. music publishing rights to "virtually every song" written by Holly, including early rock classics like "Peggy Sue," "It's So Easy," "That'll Be the Day" and "Not Fade Away." BMG will also administer royalties worldwide of Holly's recordings and -- notably for fans wanting to see more Buddy in pop culture, advertising and film/TV -- all of the rights in Holly's name, image and likeness.

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Laurent Hubert, BMG's president of creative & marketing, stressed that Holly's legacy was in good hands. "Maria Elena and the music community can be assured that BMG takes its responsibility to preserve and develop the Buddy Holly legacy extremely seriously," she said.

Holly was only 22 when he perished along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper") in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa on Feb. 3, 1959 -- now known as "The Day the Music Died." Holly was inducted in the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Check out a couple Holly classics from his (and The Crickets') appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show: