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Buddy Holly

List Of The Day

Had Charles Hardin Holley, aka Buddy Holly, not chartered the small airplane that killed him on February 3, 1959, and had he avoided all the other trials of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, he would be celebrating his 75thbirthday this September 7 as well as a larger catalog of songs. Even with his abbreviated life, the amount of quality material makes for an easy top 25. Amazing considering Holly died at the age of 22.

Tribute albums continue to pay homage to the man, including Listen to Me: Buddy Holly that includes covers from Jackson Browne, Brian Wilson, Lyle Lovett and Imelda May and Rave On Buddy Holly that features the Black Keys, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, My Morning Jacket, John Doe and the Detroit Cobras. Los Angeles has declared his birthday "Buddy Holly Day" and his star will be unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Putting these songs into any kind of order is a tad odd.Wake up on a different day and they assemble themselves in other ways. Holly wrote many of them and covered others. But they are all worthy of being considered his songs, since he made everything he touched his own.

Be sure to write in your own faves in the comments section so generously supplied by the nifty folks at Y! Music.

25) "Midnight Shift": Taken from the Nashville Sessions at Bradley's Barn in January, 1956, "Midnight Shift" threw Sonny Curtis onto guitar and proved that early in Holly's career, he had a way with a tune.

24) "I'm Looking For Someone To Love": Since Buddy Holly barely lived, all his material was recorded within a few years, making his accomplishments that much more impressive. These days, it takes artists years to make a record and the results are often worse!

23) "Love is Strange": This Mickey & Sylvia hit was recorded by Holly in his New York apartment, just him and his guitar, proof that talent succeeds with or without producers, whose true function is to make artists sound good, not to make people artists.

22) "Rock Around With Ollie Vee": Several known takes of this track prove Holly didn't always have a handle on a tune right away. But even tracks not up to his standards sound pretty darn tootin' to the rest of us.

21) "Listen to Me": Holly's recordings in Clovis, New Mexico with producer Norman Petty were among Holly's most successful. This begs the question as to why New Mexico isn't a hotbed of musical activity.

20) "Not Fade Away": Holly's version of this track sounds positively mild compared to the Rolling Stones version that took the Bo Diddley beat and turned it up to ten. Holly provides the blueprint.

19) "Well All Right": This track is virtually folk-rock compared to the rest of his catalog. I find it preferable to Holly's more orchestrated mid-tempos and ballads.

18) "Blue Days-Black Nights": The Nashville sessions were closer to rockabilly than the New Mexico sessions, since, after all, they were closer to Memphis. This was Holly's first single.

17) "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care": Back in the 1950s, everyone covered Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller tunes. And the best of the lot got great recordings out of the deal.

16) "Love Me": "Love Me" is a song that any songwriter would be proud of.Unless you're a terrible songwriter with lousy aesthetics.

15) "I'm Changing All Those Changes": Trying to convince people they should like a Buddy Holly song is a bit like selling chocolate. Unless you're allergic, you're likely to like it on first taste.

14) "Don't Come Back Knockin'": More great Nashville recordings. Amazing Holly was able to get such inventive recordings in a town then known for its musical conservatism.

13) "Heartbeat": Sure, lots of people know The Knack version, but then you have to consider the age of the general populace.

12) "Everyday":

While it was nice of Pavement to nick the melody for their own "Silence Kit," it just goes to show how derivative Pavement were and how enduring classic 1950s melodies are. Holly's drummer didn't use his drums for this track, but, rather, his knees.

11) "It's So Easy": You can't blame Linda Ronstadt for covering it. It shows she has good taste. What was she supposed to do? Cover lousy songs so the purists wouldn't get mad?

10) "Words of Love": The Beatles did a nice version of this track, as they imagined what the Everly Brothers would do with the song.

9) "Slippin' And Slidin'": Here's a Little Richard cover that Holly rocked out in his New York City apartment that was also released with posthumous overdubs. Either way, it sounds great.

8) "Maybe Baby": Some of these songs sound so obvious now. But someone had to write them (in this case, Buddy Holly and Norman Petty) and then someone -Holly - had to record it and make it immortal.

7) "That'll Be the Day": It shouldn't surprise anyone that Holly's biggest hits end up near the top of this list. There was a time when artists put their best material on singles as opposed to the track that least sounds like them.

6) "Learning the Game": It also shouldn't surprise anyone that Holly's last recordings in his New York City apartment were among his best. He was only getting better as is expected for someone just 22 years old.

5) "Peggy Sue Got Married": Amazing to think that Holly was already thinking he should extend the "Peggy Sue" story beyond its first phase. Had he lived into the1970s, would he have recorded Peggy Sue -The Rock Opera?

4) "Oh Boy": Holly's writers and producers understood what kind of song would help Holly shine. The simplicity by today's standards makes the song rather quaint. But better catchy and quaint than dense and crappy.

3) "I'm Gonna Love You Too": It's no wonder everyone from Terry "Seasons In the Sun"Jacks to Jimmy "Led Zeppelin" Page to Blondie covered this track. It's a monster.Holly didn't write it, but he had the good sense to cover it. It was the leadoff track on his second album, Buddy Holly.

2) "Rave On": Bruce Springsteen did a cool version of this song in concert. It's another track Holly didn't write, but that he delivered with sincere authority. It might be a good idea if today's bands and singer-songwriters concerned themselves less with writing their own material.It would leave more time to party!

1) "Peggy Sue": Considered by many to be Holly's best song and his best recording, "Peggy Sue," with its rhythmic paradiddles and slashing lead guitar chords, is one of the great early rock 'n' roll recordings.

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