Buddy Holly and The Crickets: Maybe Baby

I just read that Buddy Holly and The Crickets recorded Maybe Baby on this day (May 12) in 1957. The song entered Billboard’s Top 100 a year later, on February 25, and spent 14 weeks there, peaking at No 17. Written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, it was credited to The Crickets, Holly’s backing band.

I love the sweet, tender love song with its slow steady beat, the lazy rockabilly overlaid with a hint of doo-wop in the chorus.

Typically rock ‘n’ roll was fast and furious – think Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes – but the King, Elvis Presley, could be slow and dreamy, too, like any crooner or doo-wop artiste.

Buddy Holly also played both fast and slow like other rock ‘n’ rollers of his time except maybe Little Richard, who was always frenetic.

Holly did not live long enough to record a vast repertoire like Presley. His musical career was as short as the life of a cricket. He spent only three years as a recording star but made some of the most memorable rock ‘n’ roll. Peggy Sue, Rave On, Every Day, Not Fade Away, That’ll Be the Day, all feature on the Rolling Stone magazine list of 500 greatest songs of all time.

Rave On, my favourite Buddy Holly song.

Opening for Elvis Presley when the King played a gig in Buddy’s hometown, Lubbock, Texas, Holly landed a deal with Decca Records in 1956.

His first two singles, Blue Days, Black Nights and Modern Don Juan, flopped and Decca Records did not renew his contract in 1957. He then hired Norman Petty as manager and began recording at Petty’s studio in New Mexico. Petty got him a deal with Brunswick Records, a Decca subsidiary. Maybe Baby was released as a Brunswick single and went on to be a hit.

1957 was a good year for Holly. That was the year he recorded some of his greatest hits such as Peggy Sue and Rave On.

He split up with The Crickets in late 1958, moved with his wife to New York – and then on February 3, 1953, died in an air crash. He was flying to a concert in Minnesota when the plane crashed in a snowstorm in Iowa.

Two other rock ‘n’ roll stars, Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who were flying with him in the small plane, were also killed in the crash. Valens was only 17 and Richardson 28. Only 17, Valens still managed to leave behind hits like La Bamba, Donna and Come On, Let’s Go.

Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly and The Crickets ranks 107th on the Rolling Stone magazine list of 500 greatest songs of all time. But I also like The Rolling Stones’ cover version.