Thursday, December 5, 2019

Various Artists - Covered: Buddy Holly, 1957-2011

It's been a few weeks. but don't worry, I haven't stopped the "Covered" series, highlighting great songwriters. In fact, I have a lot of big names to get to. But first, I want to finish off songwriters who got started in the 1950s before moving on to those who got started in the very creatively fertile 1960s.

The last 1950s artist I want to deal with is Buddy Holly. He hit the big time in 1957, but died in a plane crash just two years later, in 1959. Since he was only 22 years old when he died, one has to wonder at all the music he could have done if he'd lived.

Holly was a particularly big influence on the Beatles. In fact, the name "the Beatles" was inspired in large part by the name of Holly's backing band, the Crickets. (The name for the Hollies was even more directly inspired by Holly, by the way.) But what perhaps influenced the Beatles the most was the example of Buddy Holly being a singer who wrote most of his songs. (Chuck Berry was the other big 1950s example of that.) 

With that in mind, I wanted to include Holly in my "Covered" series to highlight the songs he wrote or co-wrote. It turns out he didn't write some of the songs that are closely associated with him. For instance, he did NOT have a role in writing any of these songs:

I'm Gonna Love You Too
It Doesn't Matter Anymore
Midnight Shift
Oh Boy
Raining in My Heart
Rave On

I was disappointed to learn he didn't write those, even though he was the first artist to release most of them. But he did write lots of good ones, including some all-time classics. Not many covers of his songs have been big hits, though there have been some. So I mostly picked covers that I liked the best. I generally included versions of his best known songs, but I included a few rarities, usually because I found some interesting versions of those.

The total length of the album is 46 minutes, and I only have one album for him. I could have made it considerably longer, but I wanted to keep the quality control high.

01 Words of Love (Diamonds)
02 Lonesome Tears (Carolyn Hester)
03 Crying, Waiting, Hoping (Beatles)
04 Not Fade Away (Rolling Stones)
05 Love's Made a Fool of You (Bobby Fuller Four)
06 Well... All Right (Blind Faith)
07 Learning the Game (Bunch)
08 Everyday (Don McLean)
09 Peggy Sue (John Lennon)
10 It's So Easy (Linda Ronstadt)
11 True Love Ways (Elvis Costello)
12 Wishing (Mary Chapin Carpenter & Kevin Montgomery)
13 That Makes It Tough (Lazy Cowgirls)
14 Maybe Baby (Paul McCartney)
15 Think It Over (Graham Nash & the Crickets)
16 I'm Lookin' for Someone to Love (Imelda May)
17 Changing All Those Changes (Nick Lowe)
18 Peggy Sue Got Married (John Doe)

I'm amazed that I wasn't able to find a single good color photo of Holly. I did find a few, but they were all lacking for one reason or another, such as showing him as part of a group, so I couldn't show just his head without zooming way in and having a drastic loss of picture quality. Since I hate using black and white photos, I resorted to using a colorized photo of him. I think it's a particularly good one, so it's hard to tell, but it is colorized.


  1. Some interesting covers here, thanks. My favourite cover is by Leo Kottke of Learning The Game on his Balance LP. Stephen Stills did a heavy version of Not Fade Away on his Thoroughfare Gap LP. Of course Bobby Vee did a number of Buddy tribute albums and just a few months ago Albert Lee devoted an album to him.

    1. One of my rules is to not include more than one version of the same song. I think the Stones doing "Not Fade Away" and Sandy Denny/Bunch doing "Learning the Game" are the definitive ones, though there are other great ones. I'm not into Bobby Vee's stuff because he imitates Holly too much. I didn't know about the Albert Lee album.