Discussion:
George Atwood, musician who performed with Buddy Holly
(too old to reply)
d***@comcast.net
2005-03-30 03:40:51 UTC
Permalink
George Atwood, a Lubbock musician who performed with Buddy Holly, died
Sunday, according to Bill Griggs at "Rockin' 50's." He played bass on
Buddy's recordings of "Wishing" "Love's Made a Fool of You" &
"Heartbeat".
d***@comcast.net
2005-04-07 22:52:18 UTC
Permalink
Remembering a man who embraced the child within
Originally published Monday, April 4, 2005
By Jami Whited
Times-News writer

JEROME -- He always told his daughters, "You don't have to be in the
limelight to be a success, you can be just as successful in the
shadows." And as successful as he was in the shadows, bassist George
Atwood remained humble and gracious for everything he was given.

Atwood, a prominent musician in the 1950s and 1960s and well-known with
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, died on Easter Sunday, March
27 in Twin Falls. Atwood had lived in Magic Valley since the early
1990s.

Born in 1920 in Alabama, his mother died half an hour after his birth.
Atwood's father and two aunts raised him.

Teachers discovered his talent in music and, at 12 years old, Atwood
won an all-state competition playing the tuba.

At age 14, Atwood joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus,
cleaning up after animals. He soon was training with the best clowns of
the golden era, including the legendary Lou Jacobs.

With a twinkle in his big brown eyes, Atwood was sure to put smiles on
the faces of both children and adults. As Go-Ee the Clown, he had a
wire hooked to a small light bulb in his big red nose to blink at
children and one to a big plastic heart on his chest for girls.

His music talent never faltered. After leaving the circus he toured
with Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman and was later in the U.S. Navy band.

While serving in World War II, Atwood received his Purple Heart after
his ship was hit and shrapnel struck his leg. It was never removed.

But that didn't stop Atwood. After spending a year in the hospital, he
stayed active as Go-Ee and also in the music industry, including the
Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.

One of his favorite bands to work with was Buddy Holly and the
Crickets. In 1958 he played bass on Holly's recordings of "Heartbeat,"
"Love's Made a Fool of You" and "Wishing."

Holly told Atwood he wanted to build a recording studio in Lubbock,
Texas, and wanted Atwood to be a studio musician and serve as a public
relations person, just two months before his infamous death in a plane
crash.

"I don't think he ever got over the loss of Buddy. They were friends,"
said his daughter, Paula Clary.

Other musicians feel the same way about Atwood.

John Pickering of The Picks, a trio of backup singers who vocally
backed up several musicians, including Holly, met Atwood at the Norman
Petty Recording Studio on Clovis, N.M., in 1957.

"He was the gentle-giant type," Pickering said. Atwood played on The
Picks' recordings of "Moondreams" and "Look into the Future."

Big George, as he was affectionately called, also played bass for the
Norman Petty Trio, The Roses, Roy Orbison and Buddy Knox.

Music may have been his passion, but Atwood also enjoyed drawing,
genealogy research and photography. He had a knack for calling circus
animals, enjoyed fishing and colorful flowers.

"He loved to plant beautiful flower beds and enjoyed gardening," Clary
said.

Even while receiving care at a nursing home, he planted snapdragons
outside his door.

Upon leaving the music industry, Atwood and his wife moved to South
Padre Island, Texas, where he managed condominiums and made balloon
animals. While on the island, a can of chlorine gas exploded on Atwood,
leaving him with a chronic lung condition.

Even with his illness, Atwood never wanted to be a bother to anyone and
continued making people smile.

"George wanted people to be happy, he would just look for the one thing
that people would enjoy," said Sharon Johnson, a former caretaker who
Atwood considered like a granddaughter.

Christmas, Easter and Halloween were among his favorite holidays and he
often dressed up as Santa Claus to visit schools.

In Lubbock, he worked at a toy store and often fixed broken or damaged
toys. One Christmas, Atwood repaired a life-size doll, tricycle and
blue pedal car.

"I remember going into the room on Christmas morning and the doll had a
beautiful yellow dress on and she was sitting in the car with a
tricycle next to it," Clary remembers, falling silent. "And that was
just Daddy. He took what little he was given and did the best he
could."

Even while living somewhat in the shadows, Atwood was never far from
people's minds. In June 1999, he was inducted into the Norman Petty
Studios Hall of Fame at the Jerome City Library and the mayor declared
it George Atwood Day.

"As a song by West Texan Jimmy Dean once said of 'Big John,' George
Atwood was in every way a 'big, big man,'" Pickering said.
David Carson
2005-04-18 21:39:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@comcast.net
At age 14, Atwood joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus,
cleaning up after animals. He soon was training with the best clowns of
the golden era, including the legendary Lou Jacobs.
With a twinkle in his big brown eyes, Atwood was sure to put smiles on
the faces of both children and adults. As Go-Ee the Clown, he had a
wire hooked to a small light bulb in his big red nose to blink at
children and one to a big plastic heart on his chest for girls.
[snip]
Post by d***@comcast.net
Christmas, Easter and Halloween were among his favorite holidays and he
often dressed up as Santa Claus to visit schools.
This supports my belief that Santa Claus is a clown.

[snip]
Post by d***@comcast.net
Upon leaving the music industry, Atwood and his wife moved to South
Padre Island, Texas, where he managed condominiums and made balloon
animals.
Well, you can't really do one without the other.
Post by d***@comcast.net
While on the island, a can of chlorine gas exploded on Atwood,
leaving him with a chronic lung condition.
I'd like to know more about what happened there. Where did this can
of chlorine gas come from? What made it explode? What made it
explode around him? Why didn't he die?

David Carson
c***@gmail.com
2018-08-31 21:30:07 UTC
Permalink
My Name is Carlos Lugo. I knew George and his wife when they lived and manage the condos on South Padre Island.
I met them on July 1980.I visited often with them for the next 2 years. We enjoyed
many laughs, meals and exchanged
stories of his and her life and mine. George was a big tall guy and so was I. But bigger were the memories Ole Atwood shared with me. I dont know about any chlotine incident. Nor do any of my co-workers remember. You see I was a South Padre Island Policeman back then on patrol. I remember Portly George was in his shorts out in the lawn one sunday morning with a doggie on a leash and he flagged me down with his contagious smile. He told me my Name is George Atwood and Sir if you have time I would like you to have a cup of coffee with my wife and myself. So I got out of my patrol unit. Went to meet Mrs Atwood. We drank coffee with danish. The Atwoods became my friends and I visited them often. I left the area in late 1982 and lost contact. But my memories of the clown, Buddys buddy and Ole George with the contagious smile lives in me.I have shared my story with many people. I reside in Baytown Tx.
Loading...