Western Trips

Western Trips

Monday, July 21, 2014

Early Rock and Roll Hits From Clovis New Mexico

The music recording studio located on 7th Street in Clovis New Mexico played a big part in the early years of the Rock and Roll industry.

Artists who recorded at the Norman Petty Recording Studios included Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, Sonny West, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, Charlie Phillips, Jimmy Bowen, Johnny Duncan, Carolyn Hester, Chita Rivera and many others.

Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, NM
Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, NM

The Norman Petty Studios If you're are a big fan of Buddy Holly, you will definitely want to add a stop at the Norman Petty Studios in Clovis NM.

In fact, if you're a fan of Rock and Roll, a tour of this studio is a must. Norman Petty made music history in this very same studio.During the early 1950's Norman Petty formed a trio with Jack Vaughan and Petty's wife Vi. The trio had a huge hit with the Duke Ellington song "Mood Indigo".

The "Clovis Sound" made popular by such greats as Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, was created and recorded in Clovis at the Norman Petty Recording Studio. This small studio on 7th Street helped shape American Rock & Roll. During the early 1950s, Petty formed a musical trio with his wife Vi, and a friend Jack Vaughan. This "Norman Petty Trio" scored a big hit with the Petty penned song ‘Mood Indigo’, which ended up selling over half a million copies.

Buddy Holly and the Crickets cut their first demos in Clovis in 1956 . Buddy Holly and the Crickets lived in Lubbock Texas, about 90 miles southeast of Clovis and made the drive up U.S. Hwy 84 many times for their recording sessions. In just a matter of a few months hits like “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” boosted them, and the Norman Petty Studios, into the international spotlight.

Norman Petty is often referred to as one of the greatest sound engineers in American history.
You'll find a lot of original equipment still there. The history of this studio is outstanding. Visit the old recording studio and you may have a chance to sit on the same chair that Buddy Holly sat in and see the microphone Buddy used to record many of his hits from the 1950's. You may even be given a chance to sing into this very same microphone yourself. To say a visit to the Norman Petty Studios in Clovis New Mexico is a unique experience is an understatement.

The studio is set up today the very same way it was during the late 1950's when Buddy Holly recorded there. The studios were active all the way into the 1990's.Tours are by appointment only, and should be booked well in advance. The studio is located at 1313 West 7th St., Clovis, NM. Phone 505-763-7565.

Norman and Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum
The Norman and Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum

Today, the Norman and Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum, which opened in September 2008, preserves the artifacts, culture and equipment of the studio’s heyday. Visitors learn how a hit record was made – the business and the technology – and revisit the stories of the many musical legends who recorded in Clovis. This museum highlights the Clovis' rich musical background and it's intention is to complement all the music history that was made at the 7th Street recording studios. 

As of this writing, the museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to Noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum address is 105 E. Grand Ave, Clovis, NM.

You may enjoy the Western Trips articles on the links below...

Visit the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock TX

Visit the Roger Miller Museum in Erick Oklahoma

Visit Post Texas / The Town Built by C.W. Post

An excellent book regarding Norman Petty and the hits recorded at the Norman Petty Studios in Clovis New Mexico is...The King of Clovis - Norman Petty: American Music Legend: The Man Behind Rock 'n Roll's Greatest Artists by author Frank Blanas.

 The Clovis Music Festival 

One of the best times to visit the Norman Petty Studios and the Norman and Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum is during the annual Clovis Music Festival. The year 2014 is the 27th anniversary of the Clovis Music Festival.The Festival is planned each year during the second weekend of September The Clovis Music Festival is a tribute to the influential musicians that recorded their music in the Norman Petty recording studios and had an impact on Clovis.
For more information about the festival including schedules and events see website
Clovis is the capital of the High Plains when it comes to great family activities and events, a community full of friendly people and a rich history rooted in music. Don't miss out on some of the coolest music history in Clovis New Mexico.  (Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)  


  1. Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my twitter list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this!
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  2. Used to live across the street above a Mexican restaurant in Jr. High. The fire balls took us to a youth dance at the community center, where they played, because my mom worked nights and they wanted to help out.


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