Mar 04

BUDDY HOLLY – ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’

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#84, 24th April 1959

The twang of his first No.1 survives in the voice alone, a touch of reassuring gawk in amongst the frothy orchestration, hiccups dropped in like winks to the fans. The suddenly grieving fans ‘ this is the first chart-topper to be driven and haunted by the death of its maker, turning the hit parade into a makeshift memorial, records into private headstones.

But you can’t hear that in the song ‘ I had to consult the Guinness Book to check he’d died before its release ‘ which helps it have a life as more than just a reminder of its singer’s. Holly uses his hick schtick sparingly instead of letting it carry the song, and if the final splat of strings is clumsy the rest of them are delightfully pert, giving the hooks some clarity. Nominally it’s a break-up song, but there’s no poison in the sugar ‘ in fact Buddy can barely hide his glee that his lady’s walked. Cute and witty ‘ there are many worse ways to say goodbye.



  1. 1
    tim davidge on 5 Mar 2008 #

    A Paul Anka composition, this, and not only rather better than a lot of Anka’s own records-which crossed the boundary into mawkishness-but also rather better than a lot of the records it inspired. The pizzicato strings which sparked off a trend in popular music arrangements on both sides of the Atlantic also featured on a couple of other Holly tracks, Raining In My Heart and Moondreams, while another from the same session in late ’58, True Love Ways, had a more conventional string arrangement. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore is probably the best, well-recorded and in true stereo (unlike the others, and not the norm in 1958) and in spite of the full-blown orchestral arrangement thoroughly modern. It would be hard to imagine this record in ’55 or ’56, and it (among others) places Holly as a sort of prototype for the 1960s, with his openness to experimentation and new ideas, rather than just a fifties archetype.

  2. 2
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Mar 2008 #

    I remember the first time I heard Holly’s “Love Is Strange” and thought what the hell is that synthesiser/mellotron doing in there in 1958? Then I learned that Norman Petty overdubbed them in ’68 and that took away a bit of the magic. Still a remarkable record, though, his “Love Is Strange”; it sounds like Joy Division’s “Atmosphere.”

    If Anka had done this himself then no doubt there would have been references to “I’m the only important one in this relationship,” “Where’s Joe?” &c.

  3. 3
    Paulito on 9 Oct 2009 #

    Sorry Tom, but I think you’ve completely misjudged the meaning of this song. The title phrase is used to signify sulky resignation, not an ‘easy come, easy go’ attitude. Buddy’s seeming insouciance, and the bouncy, bubblegum arrangement, are intended ironically – this is a snide, pissed-off kiss-off to his ex. As the song progresses, the venom beneath the saccharine coating becomes more apparent – Holly delivers the last verse with barely concealed bitterness (“Well you go your way and I’ll go mine….and you won’t matter anymore”). In this light, the track can be viewed as an early protoype for Elvis Costello’s “Alison” (perhaps the spectacles weren’t the only influence?)

  4. 4
    Tom on 9 Oct 2009 #

    Interesting – thanks Paulito, I’ll go back to this one.

  5. 5
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #


    Patricia Hayes, actress(1975)

    Alan Parker, film director(1986)

    Greg Dyke, Former Director-General of the BBC (2007).

  6. 6
    punctum on 28 Sep 2012 #

    TPL does Buddy.

  7. 7
    hectorthebat on 19 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch: This song appeared on the following “best-of” lists:

    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) 22
    BBC (UK) – Pop on Trial, Top 50 Songs from the 1950s (2008)
    Vox (UK) – 100 Records That Shook the World (1991)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  8. 8
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    Not favorite Holly song of mine. Towards the end he was leaning toward slicker, almost proto-countrypolitan style stuff. Always thought if he had lived, he’d either pull himself together and steer early ’60s pop, or ease into a country career that may or may not have been memorable.

  9. 9
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    Perfectly fine from Buddy. 7/10 for me.

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