Sunday, November 10, 2013

Not My Buddy: Words of Love

It’s the second week of the month and I decided to do my focus on songs by Buddy Holly that were recorded by others. Some of these, the mainstream population will recognize – while others may only be known by diehard fans of Buddy Holly or the cover artists. I have a wide gap of musical styles from which I will choose this week, so let’s get rolling.

Although released as a single in 1957 under Buddy’s own name on Coral Records, “Words of Love” was a wonderful tune, but a colossal failure on the charts. It never made it into the Hot 100 or onto the UK charts; however, some lads in Liverpool, England had a copy of the song and began performing it during their live shows.

When The Beatles originally performed the song, John Lennon and George Harrison sang the duet – which produced a sound similar to Buddy Holly’s double tracked vocals on the original. When The Beatles eventually recorded the song in 1964 for their “Beatles for Sale” LP, it was John and Paul McCartney that sang the vocal duet. In the US, the song appeared on “Beatles VI.”

The guitar on the original appears to be double tracked as well, as the credits only list Buddy Holly on guitar and vocals, Joe Maudlin on bass, and Jerry Allison on drums. George Harrison’s 12-string guitar mimicked Holly’s original two guitar sound. Although Allison played drums on the Holly version, Ringo hand slapped a packing case which gave it the feel of Allison’s percussion on Holly’s “Everday.” On that number, Allison slapped his lap for the sound.

Buddy’s first hit, “That’ll Be the Day,” was recorded under The Cricket’s moniker on the Brunswick label and the record buying public may have not yet associated Buddy Holly on Coral as being the lead vocalist for The Crickets. This may explain why the follow-up to a #1 record completely failed to chart – a highly unusual occurrence in the music business. The momentum of the previous hit should have had some influence on its successor.

Although I was initially familiar with Holly’s version of the song, I got to know The Beatles’ take on the tune when in 1971 I purchased a copy of the German import of “Beatles for Sale” on the Odeon label. Our local National Record Mart in North Versailles, PA’s Eastland Shopping Center had four German import Beatles’ releases and I purchased all four that spring. By 1973, I finally found a copy of the original mono mix of “Beatles VI” on the black Capital label in a Cox’s Department store in McKeesport, PA. Great stuff from the Fab 4.

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