With a second look, I was able to find the entire “20 Golden Greats” album by Buddy Holly, which is essentially a greatest hits collection. After giving it a listen, I felt compelled to come back and re-emphasize how many outstanding songs he was able to produce in a short period of time. This frenzy of hits reminds me of the unprecedented production of Lennon-McCartney and Brian Wilson in terms of volume and excellence.
In many cases, Holly collaborated in the writing and production with producer Norm Petty. Over this short window of time from 1957 to his death in early 1959, let’s re-examine this collection. “That’ll Be The Day”, “Peggy Sue”, “Words of Love” (still my favorite), “Everyday”, “Not Fade Away”, “Oh Boy!”, “Maybe Baby”, “It’s So Easy”, and an inspired tribute cover to yesterday’s legend, “Bo Diddley”, among many others. In an era of one-hit wonders, Buddy Holly was a true hit factory.
And one last interesting note I’m shocked I never knew before, I learned who Buddy Holly’s bass player was who gave up his seat on that ill-fated flight so that the flu-ridden Big Bopper could fly instead… country legend Waylon Jennings. It is uncanny how one little decision can change a life forever. I’m glad I took a second listen through the Buddy Holly catalog, I hope you do as well.