Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!

« Go Back to Previous Page «  

Tagged: Buddy Holly

Words of Love

Written and first recorded by Buddy Holly (1957).
Hit version by The Diamonds (US #13/R&B #12/CAN #47 1957).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Words of Love’ was written by Buddy Holly and recorded by him on April 8, 1957. Holly sang all the harmonies, with producer Norman Petty double-tracking each part and combining them. The song was not a notable hit for Holly, although it is regarded as one of his most important recordings.

“However, the cover version by the Canadian quartet The Diamonds (‘Little Darlin”, ‘Silhouettes‘), released in May 1957, reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July, making the song Holly’s first hit, though as a composer not performer. (The Crickets’ ‘That’ll Be the Day’ wouldn’t peak on the Billboard charts until Sept. 27, 1957. The Diamonds’ ‘Words of Love’ peaked in July, 1957.)

“‘Words of Love’ was also covered by The Beatles on the album Beatles for Sale. Their association with the song dates back to the group’s earliest days playing The Cavern in 1961 and 1962. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were big Buddy Holly fans; it would be Holly’s songs that first inspired and compelled them to become songwriters.”

Oh Boy!

Co-written and first recorded (as “All My Love (Oh Boy)”) by Sonny West (1957).
Hit versions by Buddy Holly (US #10/R&B #13/UK #3 1957), Mud (UK #1 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Oh Boy!’ was written by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman and Norman Petty, and was originally recorded by West in 1957 but failed to achieve any commercial success. It was recorded again later in 1957 by Buddy Holly & The Crickets, with Holly singing lead vocals, and achieved success on both the Pop and R&B charts in the US and the UK Singles chart. British band Mud charted the song to UK #1 with their 1970 cover recording.”

It’s So Easy!

First recorded by The Crickets (1958).
Also recorded by Bobby Vee (1963), The Trashmen (1963), Waylon Jennings (1969).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #5/UK #11/CAN #9 1977).

From the wiki: “‘It’s So Easy!'” was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, and first released as a single by Holly under the moniker of his band, The Crickets. The single did not chart.

“Bobby Vee, The Trashmen (‘Surfin’ Bird’), and Waylon Jennings were among the several performers who recorded cover versions of ‘It’s So Easy!’ in the decade after its original release, before Linda Ronstadt’s Peter Asher-produced Top-5 single was released in 1977 to promote Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams album.”

Not Fade Away

First recorded by The Crickets (B-side 1957).
Hit versions by The Rolling Stones (US #43/UK #3 1964), Rush (CAN #88 1973), Tanya Tucker (US #70 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Not Fade Away’ is credited to Buddy Holly (originally under his first and middle names, Charles Hardin) and Norman Petty, and was first recorded by Holly under the moniker of his band, The Crickets. The group recorded the song in Clovis, New Mexico, on May 27, 1957, the same day the song ‘Everyday’ was recorded. The song’s rhythm pattern is a variant of the Bo Diddley beat; Crickets drummer Jerry Allison pounded out the beat on a cardboard box.

“‘Not Fade Away’ was originally released as the B-side of the hit single ‘Oh, Boy!’ and was included on the album The “Chirping” Crickets (1957). Even though the Crickets’ recording never charted as a single, Rolling Stone ranked ‘Not Fade Away’ at #107 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Contrary to the depiction in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story, ‘Not Fade Away’ was NOT the last song Holly ever performed before his fatal plane crash. In a 50th anniversary symposium held in Clear Lake, Iowa, where Holly last performed, discussion panel members Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch, and Bob Hale – the emcee at that final show of February 2, 1959 – all agreed that the final song of the night was Chuck Berry’s ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’, performed on-stage together by all of the acts.

Early in the Morning

Co-written (by Bobby Darin) and first recorded by The Ding Dongs (1958).
Hit version by The Rinky Dinks (US #24/R&B #8 1958), Buddy Holly (US #32/UK #17 1958).

From the wiki: “‘Early in the Morning’ was written by Bobby Darin and Woody Harris. Darin, a member at the time of the Brill Building gang of struggling songwriters, approached Brunswick Records with the song; Brunswick was impressed, but as Darin was still under contract to Atlantic Records’ subsidiary, Atco, the song was released as by ‘The Ding Dongs’ (in reality, Bobby Darin and backing vocalists). New York deejays liked the record but Atco soon discovered the deception. Brunswick was forced to turn over the masters to Atco, who re-released the record in 1958 under the name ‘The Rinky Dinks’. A version by Buddy Holly competed in the UK with Darin’s single, which was released there under Darin’s own name.”

Love’s Made a Fool of You

First recorded by Buddy Holly, writer (1958, released UK #39 1964).
Hit versions by The Crickets (UK #26 1959), Bobby Fuller Four (US #26 1966), Cochise (US #96 1971).

From the wiki: “Love’s Made a Fool of You’ was co-written and originally performed by Buddy Holly in 1954. It was first recorded in 1958 by Holly as a demo for The Everly Brothers (who chose not to record it). Holly’s demo would be posthumously released in the UK in 1964 on the Peggy Sue Got Married EP; charting in the UK Top 40. The song would be covered by The Crickets (Holly’s backup band) in 1959, becoming the group’s first single to be released following Holly’s death, but would be more famously covered in 1966 by The Bobby Fuller Four (who also covered The Crickets ‘I Fought the Law‘ the previous year).

Baby Let’s Play House

Written and first recorded by Arthur Gunter (1954).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (C&W #5 1955).
Also recorded (as a demo) by Buddy Holly (1955).

From the wiki: “‘Baby Let’s Play House’ was written by Arthur Gunter and was first recorded by him in 1954. It would be covered by Elvis Presley the following year on Sun Records – the fourth issue of a Presley record by Sun … and it became the very first recording by Elvis to appear on any national music popularity chart – in this case, when it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country singles chart in July 1955.

“In his youth the songwriter, Gunter, formed the Gunter Brothers Quartet with brothers and cousins. In 1954 Gunter signed with Excello Records and recorded ‘Baby Let’s Play House’ in November 1954. It was released on Excello 2047 and became a local hit. Gunter would later say ‘Elvis got that number and made it famous. But I didn’t get a chance to shake his hand.’ Gunter’s first royalty check, received in 1955, was for $6500 (equivalent to $57,000 in 2014).


First recorded by Buddy Holly (US #82/UK #30 1958).
Other hit versions by The England Sisters (UK #33 1960), Showaddywaddy (UK #7 1975), Nick Berry (UK #2 1992).
Also recorded by Herman’s Hermits (1965), The Hollies (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Heartbeat’ is a rockabilly song credited to Bob Montgomery and Norman Petty, and recorded originally by Buddy Holly in 1958. It was the last Buddy Holly single to be released during his lifetime. It charted low on the Billboard Hot 100 but has proven to be more popular in the UK, where Holly’s recording went Top-30. The England Sisters, also known as the Dale Sisters, recorded a cover in 1960 that peaked at #33 on the UK Singles chart.

“‘Heartbeat’ covers would subsequently reach the UK Top Ten twice: In 1975, for ’50s & ’60s revival band Showaddywaddy, and again in 1992 with the arrangement Nick Berry recorded as the theme to the Heartbeat TV series.

“Herman’s Hermits — who had originally been named The Heartbeats after the song — recorded the song in 1965. The Hollies, who had named themselves after Buddy Holly, made their only attempt at having a hit remake of a Buddy Holly song with a 1980 single release of ‘Heartbeat’ that failed to chart.”

Rave On

Co-written and originally recorded by Sonny West (Feb 1958).
Hit version by Buddy Holly (US #37/UK #5 1958).

From the wiki: “‘Rave On’ is a 1958 song written by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman and Norman Petty, first recorded by Sonny West and released in February 1958. The hit version was recorded later that same year by Buddy Holly, and was one of his six songs to chart in 1958.”

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.