by Jason Mellard / Center for Texas Music History at Texas State
On October 27, 1957, Buddy Holly and the Crickets released their second single, “Oh, Boy” backed with “Not Fade Away.” The young band of Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe Mauldin, and Niki Sullivan had taken inspiration from Elvis Presley’s Lubbock tour dates in 1955, and set out to be the next stars of rock ‘n’ roll. They got their first shot at recording with Owen Bradley at Decca in Nashville, but only found the sound they wanted in the Clovis, New Mexico studio of the independent-minded Norman and Vi Petty. Their first Petty-produced single “That’ll Be the Day” came out in May 1957. “Oh Boy”/“Not Fade Away” followed. Petty attributed the record to “The Crickets” rather than “Buddy Holly” because they were officially still under contract with Decca.
As early as 1958, “That’ll Be the Day” was the song that Liverpool’s Quarrymen (soon to be the Beatles) chose to record when they first had access to studio equipment. “Not Fade Away,” too, skipped across the Atlantic. The Rolling Stones’ 1964 cover was their first top-ten UK hit, as well as their first American single. It is hard to overestimate Holly’s influence in rock and roll, even among Texas music historians prone to such things. For those looking to dig deeper, Lubbock’s Buddy Holly Center is well worth a road trip to learn a bit more.
Laurie E. Jasinski, Gary Hartman, Casey Monahan, and Ann T. Smith, eds. The Handbook of Texas Music. Second Edition. Denton, TX: Texas State Historical Association, 2012.
Philip Norman. Buddy: The Biography. New York: MacMillan, 1996.