Buddy Holly (song)

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"Buddy Holly"
Single by Weezer
from the album Weezer
Released September 7, 1994
Format CD, cassette, vinyl
Recorded August–September 1993, Electric Lady Studios, New York City, New York
Genre Alternative rock, power pop[1]
Length 2:39
Label DGC
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
Producer(s) Ric Ocasek
Weezer singles chronology
"Undone – The Sweater Song"
"Buddy Holly"
"Say It Ain't So"
Music video
"Buddy Holly" on YouTube

"Buddy Holly" is a song by the American rock band Weezer, written by Rivers Cuomo. It was released as the second single from the band's debut album Weezer (The Blue Album) in 1994. The single was released on what would have been Buddy Holly's 58th birthday. The lyrics reference the song's 1950s namesake and actress Mary Tyler Moore. It reached #2 and #34 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart and the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, respectively. It also reached #12 in the UK. Rolling Stone ranked "Buddy Holly" #499 in its 2010 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2] The single was certified gold by the RIAA in 2006.[3] VH1 ranked it as one of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s at #59 in 2007.[4]

Song development[edit]

Rivers Cuomo stated that he remembers questioning whether or not to include this song on Weezer. He almost kept it off the final track list, but encouragement from producer Ric Ocasek soon changed his mind. In the book River's Edge, Ocasek is quoted as saying, "I remember at one point he was hesitant to do 'Buddy Holly' and I was like, 'Rivers, we can talk about it. Do it anyway, and if you don't like it when it's done, we won't use it. But I think you should try. You did write it and it is a great song.'" Cuomo said that he felt the song was "too cheesy" and didn't know if the song represented the sound he was going for with the band's music. Matt Sharp recalls:

...Ric said we'd be stupid to leave it off the album. We'd come into the studio in the morning and find little pieces of paper with doodles on them: WE WANT BUDDY HOLLY.[5]

An early demo of "Buddy Holly" recorded by Cuomo in 1993 has a different feel, as the song is played at a much slower tempo than the version that appears on the album. This version appeared on Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. The liner notes for Alone explain that the chorus, in its most primitive form, originally was sung as: "Oo-wee-oo you look just like Ginger Rogers/Oh, oh, I move just like Fred Astaire," the rest of the chorus the way it appears even in the Blue Album version.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Buddy Holly" was directed by Spike Jonze and filmed at Charlie Chaplin Studios in Hollywood over the course of one full day of shooting.

The video portrayed Weezer performing at the original Arnold's Drive-In diner from the popular 1970s television show Happy Days. The video combined contemporary footage of the band with clips from the show. Happy Days cast member Al Molinaro made a cameo appearance in the video. Al plugs his hometown, Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the introduction. In the climax, the video's stylist Casey Storm body doubled and this allowed Fonzie to dance to the band's performance. The video also features brief cameos by some members of the band as dancers at Arnold's. Initially, actor Anson Williams, who played Potsie on Happy Days, objected to footage of him appearing in the video, but relented after a letter from David Geffen, founder of Geffen Records.[5]

The video was met with great popularity and heavy rotation on MTV.[6] The innovative video scored four awards at the 1995 MTV Video Music Award, including prizes for Breakthrough Video and Best Alternative Video.[7]

The Microsoft Windows 95 release included a number of "Fun Stuff" items on the CD, including the Buddy Holly video, resulting in a sudden skyrocket in the popularity of the video and song that won Weezer a place in MTV Music Video Awards history.[8]

The music video appears at the Museum of Modern Art's music exhibit.

The music video was featured in the season 5 episode 30 of MTV's Beavis and Butthead entitled "Here Comes the Bride's Butt" on June 9, 1995.

MTV Video Music Award
Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1995 "Buddy Holly" Video of the Year Nominated
Best Alternative Video Won
Breakthrough Video Won
Best Direction (Director: Spike Jonze) Won
Best Editing (Editor: Eric Zumbrunnen) Won
  • MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year: TLC for Waterfalls

In popular culture[edit]

In 2015, the song was featured as an impromptu a capella family sing-along in a Honda Pilot TV commercial.[9] The song was featured on the show Parks and Recreation during the season 6 episode "Prom".


Promo Only Radio Single

  1. "Buddy Holly"- 2:40

UK Retail CD

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40
  2. "My Name Is Jonas" (Live) - 3:40
  3. "Surf Wax America" (Live) - 4:09
  4. "Jamie" - 4:18

UK Retail Cassette/UK Retail 7" Single (Black Vinyl)

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40
  2. "Jamie" - 4:18

Australian Retail CD

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40
  2. "Holiday"

Dutch Retail CD

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40
  2. "Surf Wax America" (Live) - 4:09

European Retail CD

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40
  2. "My Name Is Jonas" (Live) - 3:40
  3. "Surf Wax America" (Live) - 4:09

Live tracks recorded at Horizontal Boogie Bar, Rochester, NY on November 27, 1994.

Charts and certifications[edit]



  1. ^ Brod, Doug (June 2008). "The "Buddy Holly" Story". Spin 24 (6): 16. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  2. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  3. ^ "RIAA searchable database". Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  4. ^ 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s
  5. ^ a b "Buddy Holly: How Four LA Rockers Created the Definitive Hipster-Doofus Battle Cry", Ryan Domball, Blender, November 2008
  6. ^ Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 132
  7. ^ "1995 MTV Video Music Awards". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  8. ^ "1995 MTV Video Music Awards on mtv.com". mtv.com. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  9. ^ http://adage.com/article/media/family-time-weezer-singalong-honda-spot/299368/
  10. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  11. ^ "Buddy Holly", Dutch Singles Chart [1] (Retrieved July 27, 2011)
  12. ^ "Buddy Holly", Swedish Singles Chart [2] (Retrieved July 27, 2011)
  13. ^ Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Weezer | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  14. ^ RIAA Certifications

External links[edit]