Famous songwriter Sonny West dies at 85

The music world lost a giant this week, especially fans of Buddy Holly and lovers of Rockabilly, as it was revealed that Sonny West, born as Joe Bob West in West Texas in 1937, passed away last week in Oklahoma.

The artist, perhaps known most for his songwriting skills, which included massive hits for Buddy Holly like Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy,” and “Rave On,” resided in Northeast Oklahoma in the final years of his life.

West, until recently, had been active on the touring scene, even performing shows in Europe.

He has been credited with helping form the mega-popular Rockabilly music scene, which eventually led to what we now know as rock and roll.

Man of many talents

West wasn’t just a talented, successful songwriter. He dabbled in many other hobbies and trades, including silversmithing.

Fox34 noted: “Sonny wrote songs, and was a man of many other talents as well, being a self-taught silversmith and artist of beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry inspired by the Native Navajo and Zuni American Tribes of New Mexico.”

The outlet added: “Sonny was also an inventor. He single-handedly manufactured vinyl record needles for jukeboxes around the world. In more recent years, Sonny was a maker of several styles of guitars showcasing that special sound of a bygone era.”

West has a ton of credits on his professional record, as his songs have been used in countless television shows and movies. To give an idea of just how big of a deal he was, one Twitter user reminded people that Elvis Presely himself came to West’s 1970 wedding.

A life well-lived

West, for his work in the business, received the “Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the West Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of BMI’s Million Airplays Award,” Fox34 added.

Tributes to West poured in across social media.