Dec 03


Popular8 comments • 2,640 views

#64, 1st November 1957

The jangling intro and solos on “That’ll Be The Day” still sound gorgeous – assured and effortlessly pretty – but the rest of it hasn’t aged well. Liking Buddy Holly surely depends on liking that nervy gulping thing he does with his voice, and I don’t. It’s a good gimmick, it means you don’t forget the song in a hurry, but it’s a bastard to actually listen to. Aside from that the record is okay, a jaunty song sitting on a chugalug rhythm, less charismatic than most of the hits that surrounded it. Close listening shows up a load of fine band bits – the heavy dragging drums leading into the last chorus; lots of little guitar licks – but none of it really adds up to more than an honest, adequate pop record.



  1. 1
    tim davidge on 21 Mar 2008 #

    Proof that pop music is changing fast. I seem to recall having seen and heard a Buddy Holly LP on Ace of Clubs issued from the time when he made his very first recordings, for American Decca. He didn’t stay with them long, but one of the tunes on that LP was this one. In its original form it was a bottom-heavy, echo-laden affair. It didn’t work, so Holly and Co went away, re-thought, and tried again. A year or so later this was the result – on a different label. Holly still had a way to go before he produced his best work (during the course of 1958 there were to be some gems, some of which barely dented the chart) but this, while not his best, certainly showed he was hitting his stride. The (very good) drummer on Crickets records was Jerry (“J.I.”) Allison, who went on to be a session drummer as well as featuring in later Crickets line-ups. He also made a solo record, ‘Real Wild Child’ under the name of Ivan (his middle name).

    A final note on this group was that they came to this country in their original form in 1958, braving a ten-hour, prop-driven flight to land up in these chilly islands. They toured and appeared on TV and on one occasion young Alvin Stardust, then in a previous life, blagged his way backstage…

  2. 2
    Mutley on 1 Oct 2010 #

    Raise a quiff to Tony Curtis who has just died age 85. This is not to celebrate his film career, which had some gems (my favourite The Sweet Smell of Success), but his haircut which is more apposite to this list. His swept-back greased DA with extravagent quiff and named after him was the haircut of choice of most white male rock’n’rollers from 1955-59, including Buddy Holly who, through tragic circumstances, is forever with that haircut.

  3. 3
    Mark G on 21 Jan 2011 #

    “I’m looking for someone to love” is one of those b-sides that’s better than the A. Or, at least, I thought so back when I found this (and played it loads) back in the mid sixties at my Grandma/pa’s house.

  4. 4
    Brian Wilson on 6 Apr 2012 #

    That’ll be the day is a recording that stands the test of time and sounds as fresh and original today (2012) as it did in 1957. The recording stands out from other rock n roll records of the time. This was followed by Oh Boy and Peggy Sue equally great recordings but totally different. Buddy Holly and The Crickets were more of an influence on the music that followed than probably any other artists.

  5. 5
    hectorthebat on 6 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch: This song appears on the following ‘best-of’ lists:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh & Kevin Stein (USA) – The 40 Best of the Top 40 Singles by Year (1981) 2
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 33
    Gary Pig Gold (Canada) – The 40 Most Influental Records of the 20th Century (1999)
    Heartaches By the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles (USA, 2003) 340
    Life (USA) – 40 Years of Rock & Roll, 5 Songs for Each Year 1952-91 (Updated 1995)
    National Recording Preservation Board (USA) – The National Recording Registry
    Pause & Play (USA) – 20 Songs of the 50’s (2003)
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (USA) – 500 Songs That Shaped Rock (1994?)
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004) 39
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Updated 2010) 39
    San Antonio Express-News (USA) – Rock ‘n’ roll timeline (2004)
    TIME (USA) – The All-Time 100 Songs (2011)
    The Recording Academy Grammy Hall of Fame Albums and Songs (USA)
    VH1 (USA) – The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time (2000) 45
    2FM (Ireland) – Top 100 Singles of All Time (2003) 79
    HarperCollins GEM (UK) – Single of the Year 1949-99 (1999)
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time (1997) 25
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Records That Changed the World (2007) 52
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (1976) 62
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 150 Singles of All Time (1987) 62
    Q (UK) – 100 Songs That Changed the World (2003) 43
    The Guardian (UK) – 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear (2009)
    Zig Zag (UK) – Gillett & Frith’s Hot 100 Singles (1975)
    Berlin Media (Germany) – The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1998) 24
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Rocks Musiczine (Spain) – The 100 Best Rock Songs in History (1995) 72
    STM Entertainment (Australia) – The 50 Best Songs Ever (2007) 42
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  6. 6
    Kinitawowi on 12 Mar 2015 #

    Rechristened as Imp Y Celyn for Soul Music, of course, which makes this probably the best place to mark the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett. RIP.

  7. 7
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    5? Thought for sure this one might be a rare 10. Holly did a lot of great songs, but this one holds up pretty well.

  8. 8
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    7/10 for Buddy from me.

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