Buddy Holly (song)

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"Buddy Holly"
Single by Weezer
from the album Weezer (The Blue Album)
ReleasedSeptember 7, 1994
FormatCD, cassette, vinyl
RecordedAugust–September 1993, Electric Lady Studios, New York City, New York
Songwriter(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 United Kingdom. Rolling Stone ranked "Buddy Holly" #499 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2010).[5] The digital version of the single for "Buddy Holly" was certified gold by the RIAA in 2006.[6] VH1 ranked it as one of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s at #59 in December 2007.[7]

Song development[edit]

Rivers Cuomo said he remembers wondering 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 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 did not 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.[8]

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 stayed the same as 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 diner Arnold's Drive-In from the 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. Molinaro plugs his hometown, Kenosha, Wisconsin, as the hometown of Weezer in the introduction, though the band in fact was formed and based in Los Angeles.

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.[8]

The video was met with great popularity, and heavy rotation on MTV.[9] The innovative video scored four awards at the 1995 MTV Video Music Award, including prizes for Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction and Best Editing. It was also nominated for Video of the Year, won by TLC for Waterfalls.[10]

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 which won Weezer a place in the history of MTV Music Video Awards.[11] The music video appears in the music exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art. The music video was featured in Season 5, Episode 30 of MTV's Beavis and Butthead entitled "Here Comes the Bride's Butt" on June 9, 1995.

Cover art[edit]

The original cover art for the single was an early photograph of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo with an unidentified female friend. The cover art was soon changed, however, as the woman on the cover sued Weezer for usage of her photo without legal permission.[citation needed] The cover art was quickly changed to a childhood picture of Cuomo next to his younger brother, Leaves Cuomo. Cuomo wished to contact the woman, to no response.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2015, the song was featured as an impromptu a cappella family sing along in an advert for the Honda Pilot.[12] The song was featured on the show Parks and Recreation during the Season 6 episode "Prom".

In 2016, the song was covered by Canadian nerd rock trio Double Experience with an accompanying video[13]

In 2017, the song was chosen by Finn Wolfhard on the show Lip Sync Battle during the Stranger Things episode.[14]

Track listing[edit]

7": Geffen Records / GFS 88 (UK)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Buddy Holly (LP Version)" - 2:40
Side two
  1. "Jamie (Geffen Rarities LP Version) " - 4:18

Cassette single: Geffen Records / GFSC 88 (UK)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Buddy Holly (LP Version)" - 2:40
  2. "Jamie (Geffen Rarities LP Version) " - 4:18
Side two
  1. "Buddy Holly (LP Version)" - 2:40
  2. "Jamie (Geffen Rarities LP Version) " - 4:18

CD: Geffen Records / GFSTD 88 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Buddy Holly (LP Version)" – 2:40
  2. "My Name Is Jonas" (Live Version) – 3:40
  3. "Surf Wax America" (Live Version) – 4:09
  4. "Jamie (Geffen Rarities LP Version)" – 4:18

CD: Geffen Records / GED 21978 (Europe)[edit]

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

CD: Geffen Records / GED 22052 (Netherlands)[edit]

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

CD: Geffen Records / GEFDS 21968 (Australia)[edit]

  1. "Buddy Holly (LP Version)" – 2:40
  2. "Holiday" - 3:26

CD Promo: Geffen Records / PRO CD 4687 (US)[edit]

  1. "Buddy Holly" - 2:40

  • Live tracks recorded at Horizontal Boogie Bar, Rochester, New York on November 27, 1994.

Charts and certifications[edit]



  1. ^ "Weezer / Pixies". Delawareonline. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Brod, Doug (June 2008). "The "Buddy Holly" Story". Spin. 24 (6): 16. ISSN 0886-3032.
  3. ^ Braun, Laura (September 23, 2016). "How Weezer's 'Pinkerton' Went From Embarrassing to Essential". Rollingstone. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  4. ^ "Weezer brings the fun, and the Pixies, to tour". The News & Observer. July 20, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  6. ^ "RIAA searchable database". Archived from the original on 2008-09-02. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  7. ^ 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s Archived 2012-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "Buddy Holly: How Four LA Rockers Created the Definitive Hipster-Doofus Battle Cry", Ryan Domball, Blender, November 2008
  9. ^ Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 132
  10. ^ "1995 MTV Video Music Awards". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2007-09-11.
  11. ^ "1995 MTV Video Music Awards on mtv.com". mtv.com. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  12. ^ "Family Time Becomes Weezer Singalong in Honda Spot". adage.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Double Experience Channel Weezer's Blue Album in Their Own Buddy Holly Video".
  14. ^ "Finn Wolfhard performs Buddy Holly". Archived from the original on 2017-06-01. Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  15. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 16 Apr 1995". imgur.com. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  17. ^ "Buddy Holly", Dutch Singles Chart "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2011-07-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) (Retrieved July 27, 2011)
  18. ^ "Buddy Holly", Swedish Singles Chart [1] (Retrieved July 27, 2011)
  19. ^ Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Weezer | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  20. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1995". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  21. ^ "Wayback Machine". 24 September 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

External links[edit]