Friday, November 15, 2013

Not My Buddy: Not Fade Away

As we continue our look at Buddy Holly songs covered by others, the most often charting Holly song was “Not Fade Away.” The best known rendition of the song was released in 1964 as The Rolling Stones first American single. Their version charted at #48. In 1973, Eric Hine pushed “Not Fade Away” to the #73 slot and the most recent chart attempt was Sheryl Crow’s 2007 release that went to #78.

For today’s feature, I picked the second most popular cover of the song which peaked at #70 – Tanya Tucker’s 1978 double sided hit that included “Not Fade Away” on the “B” side and “Texas When I Die” which was a #5 country hit. Since Fridays are generally reserved for flipsides, I thought Tanya’s version was appropriate at this juncture.

Although charting at #70 was not a colossal feat for Ms. Tucker, I remember this foray into pop radio as I was a new employee at WAMX at the time of its release. I don’t think we played “Not Fade Away,” but I do remember all of the guys going gaga over the album cover for her latest more rock oriented venture “T.N.T.” The once child singer was “all growed up,” as they say here in Central Appalachia, and my coworkers at WAMX were beginning to take notice.

It was quite the comeback as Tucker’s popularity had taken a slight dip. “T.N.T.” produced two Top 20 country hits and it gave her a vehicle to crossover once again to the pop charts. It was also her first certified gold album since 1973’s “Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone).”

“Not Fade Away” was a flipside as well for The Crickets’ second single, “Oh Boy!” While “Oh Boy!” charted at #10, Brunswick apparently put forth no effort to promote “Not Fade Away” as a double sided hit. To this day, the Stones’ version is the most popular rendition of the song with Tanya Tucker’s cover coming in second. By the way, the harmonica on this cut is played by Mickey Raphael.

Songwriting credits are listed as Norman Petty and Charles Hardin. Born Charles Hardin Holley, the artist not only dropped the “e” from his last name and used his nickname “Buddy” for his stage persona, he only used his given and middle names for authoring credit on “Not Fade Away.” I am not certain of the reason, but it may have been related to his Decca contract.

It was not the only Holly single to feature his writing pseudonym as “Charles Hardin.” Other releases included “Everyday,” “Listen to Me,” and “Tell Me How.” Other artist who have released “Maybe Baby” have credited it to Charles Hardin and Norman Petty; however, Holly’s own name appeared on the original along with Petty’s.

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