Buddy Holly- Buddy Holly
Written on August 11, 2012
Of all the studio albums released in the 1950’s, Buddy Holly’s eponymous release is my favorite, and it absolutely did the most to inspire the 60’s music scene.
Modern rock really started between 1962-1964 when Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones all released their debut albums, and all four of these bands have cited Buddy Holly has one of their primary influences. Dylan saw Holly when Dylan was just 17 years old, and it made such a profound impact on him that he even referenced the experience 40 years later in his 1998 speech when Time out of Mind won the Grammy for Album Of The Year. Dylan stated in his speech that…
“When I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him, and he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was– I don’t know how or why– but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way.”
The sound on the Buddy Holly album is completely ahead of its time. Holly took the country western inspired rock sound that Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Roy Orbison were pioneering at Sun Studios in Memphis, and he made it much more upbeat and catchy.
Holly’s vocals are also completely unique on the album. He incorporates an intentional hiccup or slight stutter to his vocal delivery, which completely resonates with me, and it also served as inspiration to other 60’s vocalists like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who added a similar stuttering to his vocal delivery.
The highlights on Buddy Holly are “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” “Listen To Me,” and “Rave On.” All three songs perfectly personify Holly taking the classic Memphis sound and adding his current spin to it. Holly’s version of “Rave On,” in particular, is the clear winner for me. It is completely timeless and maybe the most groundbreaking song on the album.
In addition to those three songs, the other standouts on the album are “Everyday,” which was the blue print for much of The Beatles’ early catalog, “Words of Love,” which the Beatles covered on The Beatles for Sale album, and “Peggy Sue,” which was the blueprint for much of The Beach Boys early work, and it is arguably the first surf style song.
The only songs on the album that don’t resonate with me are some of the 50’s style covers such as “Valley of Tears,” “Ready Teddy,” and “Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues.” None of those songs are bad, but they look back rather than look forward, and they take away from Holly’s progressive approach to rock music.
This Eponymous release is the absolute definitive Buddy Holly studio album; however, it is missing two of Holly’s signature songs: “That’ll Be The Day,” and– more importantly, “Not Fade Away,” which is widely considered Holly’s seminal song, and it is one of the most covered songs in history. It has been covered by an almost countless number of bands including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and even harder edged bands like Rush. Plus, the Grateful Dead really made the song their own by adding it to their live set over 530 times and often extending the song’s run time well over 20-minutes by incorporating extended jamming sessions into the song’s architecture. (Click here to listen to Not Fade Away)
Although the big bang of proto-rock had occurred just 3-years before this release in 1955, that early rock sound was already becoming stale and dated by the late 50’s, and rock fans were ready for a change. The Buddy Holly album provided that change, and it really helped usher in what would become the first wave of modern rock just a few years later in the early 60’s. Buddy Holly’s studio recording career only lasted 6-months and consisted of only three albums before his untimely death, but his contribution to modern rock is absolutely immeasurable.
Rate this album now! Scroll over the stars and click to rate.