Buddy Holly released only three original studio albums. However the music on those three records broke immense ground in the development of rock and roll. Countless musicians from Bruce Springsteen to The Rolling Stones have covered Buddy Holly’s songs on record and in live performances. His music has lived on for over 60 years.
Buddy Holly was born in Texas in 1936 during The Great Depression. Many historians argue that when times are bad, music thrives. Music and art rescues people from their sorrows. Buddy Holly was raised by a family of musicians during those difficult days of The Great Depression. A little over twenty years later, Buddy Holly would release his first album with his band The Crickets. The group consisted of Buddy Holly on lead vocals and guitar, Jerry Allison on drums, Joe B. Mauldin on bass and Niki Sullivan on rhythm guitar. The album was entitled The Chirping Crickets. The album and Buddy Holly were an instant hit. The album contained the number one single “That’ll Be The Day.” The Crickets were Buddy Holly’s backing band but because of contractual issues with Buddy Holly’s first recording label Decca, Buddy Holly was unable to release the first album under his name.
In 1957, Buddy Holly released two albums. The two records entitled Buddy Holly on Coral records and That’ll Be The Day on Decca Recrds would be the last studio recordings Buddy Holly released while he was still alive. Tragedy struck in early 1959 when Buddy Holly’s plane crashed after a concert. Richie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and the plane’s pilot Roger Peterson all lost their lives that tragic night.
It’s truly amazing that an artist who only released three albums had such an impact on rock and roll for so long a time. It is simply a tribute to the power of Buddy Holly’s songs. Buddy Holly’s music gave birth to a new rock and roll feel that soon thousands of recording artists would try to imitate. Our Top 10 Buddy Holly songs presents ten of those iconic songs that changed the rock and roll landscape forever.
# 10 – Words Of Love
“Words Of Love,” was the first single released from Buddy Holly’s first album credited to just the name Buddy Holly. It was actually Buddy Holly’s second full length album as he had already released a full length album that was credited as The Crickets. The song was also recorded by The Beatles for their album Beatles For Sale. It’s stunning how great this recording still sounds.
# 9 – Maybe Baby
This incredible track “Maybe Baby,” was released on The Chirping Crickets album in 1956. The song was released as a single and became a top 40 hit in both the United States and United Kingdom.
# 8 – I’m Gonna Love You Too
The Buddy Holly recording of “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” was released on the Buddy Holly album in 1957. The song was also released as a single in 1967. A little over twenty years later, the band Blondie released a version of the song on their Parallel Lines album.
# 7 – Peggy Sue Got Married
Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue Got Married,” was the sequel to his smash hit “Peggy Sue.” It is one of rock and roll’s first sequel songs and that alone makes it an interesting listen. However it has that signature Buddy Holly guitar sound while also exploring some interesting chord changes that were perhaps a preview of where Buddy Holly’s music may have gone if not for that tragic plane crash.
# 6 – It’s So Easy
The Buddy Holly song “It’s So Easy,” was originally released as a single by Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1958. The song “It’s So Easy,” was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty. The song was not a big hit for Buddy Holly. However, less than twenty years later, Linda Ronstadt had a huge hit with the song when she recorded it for her Simple Dreams album in 1977. The song hit number 5 for Linda Ronstadt on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 5 – Rave On
The great song “Rave On,” was recorded by Buddy Holly in 1958. Even though Buddy Holly did not write the song, he had a hit with it in both the United Kingdom and United States. Bruce Springsteen performed the song live during his 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour.
# 4 – Oh Boy!
“Oh Boy!” is one of the most covered Buddy Holly and The Crickets songs ever released. The song was written by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman and Norman Petty. It was recorded by Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1957 and released on the The “Chirping” Crickets album. The song has been covered by The Grateful Dead, The Everly Brothers, The Stray Cats, Bruce Springsteen and so many more.
# 3 – That’s Be The Day
From a mass culture standpoint, “That’ll Be The Day,” is probably the most famous song ever written by Buddy Holly. The song was Buddy Holly’s only number one song. It hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. The song had originally been recorded by Buddy Holly in 1956 with the Three Tunes. However, it was the version he recorded and released on the “Chirping” Crickets album that became the monster hit. The song was written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison. It is not our favorite Buddy Holly song, but the popularity of the song when it was first released and twenty years later in the seventies cannot be denied.
The Buddy Holly song “That’ll Be The Day,” was also one of his most covered songs. Linda Ronstadt had a top 20 hit with it in 1976 when she released it as a single off the Hasten Down The Wind album. The Everly Brothers had a hit with it in 1965. One of our favorite versions was recorded by Foghat on their 1974 Energized album.
# 2 – Peggy Sue
It’s a shame no one names their daughters Peggy Sue anymore. People don’t even name their daughters Peggy. We live in a world of Brianna’s and Ashley’s. Nonetheless, the great Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue,” was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty. The song was released on the Buddy Holly album in 1957. The song was a huge hit for Buddy Holly as it hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 1 – Not Fade Away
If we had to choose one Buddy Holly song that had the biggest impact on the development of rock music, it would undoubtedly be the classic song “Not Fade Away.” The great Buddy Holly song “Not Fade Away,” was released on the “Chirping” Crickets album in 1957. The song makes uses of the hambone rhythm that was used by Bo Diddley. However Buddy Holly altered the rhythm slightly to create an original groove that worked better against his melodic line. The song was released as the B side to the single “Oh Boy.”
The Rolling Stones had a major hit with the song when they recorded it in 1964. The song was released as a single and included on the U.S. only album England’s Newest Hitmakers. Bruce Springsteen performed the song as the opening to “She’s The One,” on his 1978 tour. “Not Fade Away,” would become one of the most performed songs by The Grateful Dead in concert.