THE ORIGINAL: Buddy Holly (1957)

Buddy Holly recorded this song twice, first in 1956 with the Three Tunes, and then with the Crickets in 1957. I’m sticking with the later, more popular version.

This is an early rock n’ roll standard, a mid-tempo, twangy, country-ish song that was played at every sock hop in America that year. It’s recorded very loud, with Buddy’s tenor being the most prominent, then the drums, then the guitars and bass.

His voice is as clear as a bell. There’s something very sweet and kind of “aw shucks” about it, and the background vocals are harmonic and do a great call and response thing.

The bridge is compact, his guitar solo is sharp as a tack. This song is also kind of monotone, and a smidge uptight, which reflects the times very well.  It has a little swing, but not a lot of soul.

THE COVER: Linda Ronstadt (1976)

Linda keeps it basic here, but with a 70s Los Angeles sheen. The arrangement is the same, but with a longer bridge and guitar solos. The background vocals are different and straightforward. No great shakes here.

Now, I’m going to ask you to listen to Buddy’s first recording of this song with the Three Tunes, because he sings in a higher register that sounds a lot like Linda, which is weird.

I’ve often wondered why she even bothered to do this cover. To me, it’s one of those “because I can” situations, and nothing creative happened. Like they ran this song in rehearsals as a warm up.

WHO DOES IT BETTER?

I think this is the first time I’ve done this, but I have to be honest… neither one of them really does it for me, so it’s a tie based on mediocrity. Yes, it’s a good song, but it’s pretty “meh” to me. I’m not even sure how Linda could have truly made this her own.

Please, do me a huge favor and tell me your choices in the comments section, because I really want to know who you chose, no joke.

NOW YOU DECIDE!

About Author

Crystal C Durant

Crystal is today's black Renaissance woman. She lives in Harlem, is always up for a new experience, is a magnet for all kinds of crazy, and smells like fresh flowers.

4 Comments

  1. you can’t keep a good song down…I saw her do it live before the lp was out and it was a memorable part of her show…looking at it through the mists of time…when she did it, it is the early70s, it was exciting. American Graffiti was around the same time and the soundtrack ignited a renewed interest in “oldies” …but listening to it now?…I don’t think it has held up compared to her other work. I am always sad that she has lost her gift now so I give her a pass

  2. Linda, by far, is the most exciting singer of the 70’s and 80’s. Hands down. She did a GREAT rendition of this song.

  3. Viva Linda. Her opening “well” – especially Live was always a thrill.(I was 12 when I saw her in concert, Dad loved her). Hardcore adorable and glorious pipes. No wonder she took that flexible, gorgeous voice elsewhere beyond rock – defending her still.

%d bloggers like this: