Norman Petty’s legacy: The Clovis Sound

High Plains Road Trip

CLOVIS, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT)—Clovis has a rich music history and even an iconic recording studio and rock and roll museum to honor the legacy of Norman Petty.

If you are not paying attention driving down 7th St. in Clovis, you could easily miss Norman Petty Recording Studios.

It was the birthplace of “the Clovis sound” back in the ’50s and influenced rock and roll music for decades.

Petty’s label, Nor-Va-Jak Music Inc. would go down in history.

“So, all these artists just came to Clovis, New Mexico to record with Norman Petty right there on 7th street,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the Curry County Chamber of Commerce. “He was just a genius as it related to sound and engineering and it’s kind of one of those things. The momentum just grew from one artist to the next. You can be anywhere in the world and hear songs that you know that were recorded right here in your community.”

Artists like Buddy Holly recorded with Norman and Vi Petty, charting the hit “That’ll Be the Day.” Not to mention, Roy Orbison and many others.

That’s why the Norman and Vi Petty Rock and Roll museum exists, to pay tribute to the legacy.

It has been around for 11 years now.

“If people are going to come to Clovis to see the studio, then they can also visit the museum or vice-versa, so it makes it more of a tourist attraction,” Kos said. “All of the images, photos, records, any of the displays are very unique to Clovis and tells the story of the legacy of what happened here when Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox, different rock and roll greats recorded here in Clovis.”

Thanks to the museum and the estate of Norman and Vi Petty, their legacy is not going anywhere.

Each year, the museum sees visitors from all over the world.

The museum is on the basement level of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce. Admission is $5. To visit the music studio, tours must be planned in advance.

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