PLEASE DON’T GET ON THE PLANE (Harvey Andrews) – HARVEY ANDREWS (Beeswing 1988)
Harvey Andrews, a singer-songwriter from Birmingham, England, has written tributes to his heroes (Tony Hancock, Harry Chapin, Phil Ochs). In 1988, it was Buddy Holly’s turn and this compelling song looks at Holly’s final flight through the eyes of a 15 year old English boy –
“I know that you’re tired
And you hired it to go on ahead of the gang,
But please don’t get on the plane,
Take your time,
Like the words of the song you just sang.”
Andrews also recorded a nifty “Learning The Game” (Cube 1972) with several Holly references.
BUDDY’S WAITING ON THE FLATLAND ROAD (Terry Clarke) – TERRY CLARKE (Minidoka 1990)
Terry Clarke, a contemporary country performer from Reading, England, was recording in the Fire Station Studio in San Marcos, Texas. Terry Clarke (383): “We’d recorded all the songs we had planned to do but there was still some tape left on the reel. I looked west out of the window at a brilliant Texas morning and thought of Buddy Holly.” Key line: “He died young so he can’t grow old.”
LUBBOCK CALLING (Terry Clarke) – TERRY CLARKE (Minidoka 1990)
Terry Clarke wrote this tribute to Holly after seeing Joe Ely playing live. It includes a snatch of “Oh Boy!” as the lyrics state, “The ghosts have got it right, Buddy Holly’s singing to Joe Ely tonight.”
TRIBUTE TO BUDDY (Stanley Accrington) – STANLEY ACCRINGTON (Gig cassette 1991)
Humour (well, possibly) from one of stalwarts of UK folk clubs:
“He taught me how to be modest,
With a talent oh so big,
But most of all he taught me,
Don’t catch a plane home after a gig.”
There are others as many artists have either wanted to pay tribute or more likely, thought that mentioning Buddy Holly would increase sales. Two songs that have nothing to do with Buddy Holly are Buddy” (Jackie de Shannon as Jackie Dee, Mar-Vel 1956) and “Holly Would” (The Crickets, CBS 1983).
LISTEN TO ME – THE RECORDS BUDDY HOLLY NEVER MADE
WHAT DO YOU WANT (Johnny Worth) – ADAM FAITH (Parlophone 1959)
Although a commendable actor and devastatingly good-looking, Adam Faith was a lightweight pop singer who has said of his own CD reissues, “Who buys this crap?” His first hit, “What Do You Want”, topped the UK charts and lent heavily on “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” in terms of Faith’s performance and John Barry’s pizzicato strings. When Faith received a silver disc, he thought of splitting it in three – one part for himself, one for songwriter Johnny Worth and one for John Barry. It should have been in four as Buddy deserved a portion.
BE MINE (Alle Mädchen Wollen Küssen) (J.Menke, M.Panas, T.Lüth, Marcel Stellman) – LANCE FORTUNE (Pye 1960)
Another John Barry arrangement, another Buddy Holly soundalike, another rip-off of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” and another Top 10 hit.
SOMEDAY (WHEN I’M GONE FROM YOU) (T.Leslie, Dick Glasser) – BOBBY VEE AND THE CRICKETS (Liberty 1961)
Vee made an album with the Crickets and has worked with them sporadically ever since. This track opens like “Kansas City” and incorporates Holly-styled guitar-riffs. Although Vee is often criticised as a Holly copyist, he usually doesn’t sound like him. On this take, he does, but the song is contrived.
SHEILA (Tommy Roe) – TOMMY ROE (ABC-Paramount 1962)
Tommy Roe brazenly copied Holly’s hiccuping vocal and Jerry Allison’s torrid drumming on “Sheila”, who was a close cousin to “Peggy Sue”. Ironically, the single did better than “Peggy Sue”, becoming a transatlantic No.l. Tommy Roe (384): “I wrote ‘Sheila’ when I was 14 and it was a local hit on Judd Records, which was a label out of Memphis that Sam Phillips’s brother started.
When I got out of high school, I met Felton Jarvis who wanted to re-record ‘Sheila’ and we did it in Nashville. It was Felton’s idea to have that drumming as he thought it a good gimmick to get airplay. Buddy Harmon did the drumming, Bob Moore was on bass and Jerry Reed and Wayne Moss played guitars. That’s a pretty good band. I play acoustic guitar on most of my things but you can’t hear me on that: Felton took me out of the picture as he had such great players. When I came here to tour, the headlines were ‘The Ghost of Holly Returns’.”
I FOUGHT THE LAW (Sonny Curtis) – THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR (Mustang 1966)
Despite its originality, “I Fought The Law”, which was written by Sonny Curtis for the Crickets, still has “Buddy Holly” stamped all over it. The Bobby Fuller Four recorded an angry version – and the Clash an even angrier one – Buddy would have loved them too.
UH HUH HONEY (B.Bond) – CHARLIE FEATHERS (1967 Barrelhouse)
Being born in Holly Springs gives you a head start in the soundalike stakes, although Charlie Feathers (385) claims, with some justification, that he was there first. “I’ve been singing rockabilly most of my life. Buddy Holly would listen to me. He tried to get on Sun and then he went to Clovis, New Mexico and did ‘Peggy Sue’. A lot of people say we sound alike. He used to listen to me do the hiccup, so who copied who?”
Feathers is a fine rockabilly performer but his records and performances have been too eccentric and erratic to find mainstream acceptance. His stuttering, hiccuping delivery is like Buddy Holly on speed. There are several recordings of “Uh Huh Honey” but this one, released in the UK on the 1992 CD “That Rock-A-Billy Cat!”, is the most outlandish, featuring Feathers at his most impassioned on what is clearly a nonsense song. If Buddy Holly had recorded this, he would have been having fun: Feathers is deadly serious.
EAT AT HOME (Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney) – PAUL & LINDA McCARTNEY (Apple 1971)
Buddy Holly meets “Daytripper”.