Not Fade Away (song)

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"Not Fade Away"
Buddy holly crickets not fade away brunswick.jpg
"Not Fade Away" cover
B-side to "Oh, Boy!" by The Crickets from the album The "Chirping" Crickets
Released October 27, 1957 (1957-10-27)
Recorded May 27, 1957 in Clovis, New Mexico[1]
Genre Rock and roll, rockabilly
Length 2:21
Label Brunswick single 55035[1]
Writer Charles Hardin, Norman Petty
Language English
Producer Norman Petty[1][2]
The "Chirping" Crickets track listing
  1. "Oh, Boy!"
  2. "Not Fade Away"
  3. "You've Got Love"
  4. "Maybe Baby"
  5. "It's Too Late"
  6. "Tell Me How"
  7. "That'll Be the Day"
  8. "I'm Looking for Someone to Love"
  9. "An Empty Cup (And a Broken Date)"
  10. "Send Me Some Lovin'"
  11. "Last Night"
  12. "Rock Me My Baby"

"Not Fade Away" is a song credited to Buddy Holly (originally under his first and middle names, Charles Hardin) and Norman Petty (although Petty's co-writing credit is most likely a formality[3]) and first recorded by Holly's band The Crickets.[2]

Crickets' version[edit]

They recorded the song in Clovis, New Mexico, on May 27, 1957, the same day the song "Everyday" was recorded.[1] The song's rhythm pattern is a variant of the Bo Diddley beat (with the second stress occurring on the second, rather than third beat of the first measure) which itself was an update of the so-called "hambone" rhythm, or "patted juba" from Western Africa; Crickets drummer Jerry Allison pounded out the beat on a cardboard box.[3] Allison, Holly's best friend, also claims to have written part of the lyrics, though his name never appeared in the songwriting credits. The other performer on the song was Joe Mauldin on double bass. The backing vocalists on the recording are most likely Holly, Allison, and Niki Sullivan, although this is not known for certain.[1]

Along with the familiar Take 2 of "Not Fade Away", there exists a Take 1 whose first verse is missing; it has been released with the first part of Take 1 spliced onto it.[citation needed] Originally released as the B-side to the hit "Oh, Boy!", "Not Fade Away" was also included on the album The "Chirping" Crickets (1958).

Contrary to the depiction in the film The Buddy Holly Story (1978), this was not the last song Holly ever performed before his fatal plane crash. In a 50th anniversary symposium held in Clear Lake,[citation needed] discussion panel members Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch, and Bob Hale (the master of ceremonies at that final show of February 2, 1959) all agreed that the final song of the night was Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", performed by all of the acts together.

In 2004, this song was ranked number 107 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". However, The Crickets' recording never charted as a single.

Cover versions[edit]

"Not Fade Away"
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album The Rolling Stones
B-side "Little by Little" (UK)
"I Wanna Be Your Man" (US)
Released 21 February 1964 (UK)
6 March 1964 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 10 January 1964, Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock and roll
Length 1:48
Label Decca F11845 (UK)
London 45-LON 9657 (USA)
Writer(s) Norman Petty, Charles Hardin
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"I Wanna Be Your Man"
"Not Fade Away"
"Tell Me"
"Not Fade Away"
Single by Sheryl Crow
Released February 17, 2007
Format digital download
Genre Rock
Length 2:03
Sheryl Crow singles chronology
"Real Gone"
"Not Fade Away"
"Shine Over Babylon"
"Not Fade Away"
Single by Rush
B-side "You Can't Fight It"
Released 1973
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973
Genre Rock and roll, hard rock
Length 3:13
Label Moon
Writer(s) Norman Petty, Charles Hardin
Producer(s) David Stock
Rush singles chronology
Not Fade Away Finding My Way

Rolling Stones[edit]

In 1964, The Rolling Stones' cover of "Not Fade Away", with its strong emphasis on the Bo Diddley beat, became a major hit in Britain and served as the A-side of the band's first US single.[4]

The Rolling Stones' version of "Not Fade Away" was one of their first classic hits. Recorded in January 1964 and released by Decca on February 21, 1964 with "Little by Little" as the B-side, it was their first Top 5 hit in Great Britain, reaching #3.[5] In March 1964, it was also the Rolling Stones' first single release in the United States, on the London Records label, with "I Wanna Be Your Man" as the B-side (briefly preceded by "Stoned", which had immediately been withdrawn). The single reached #48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[6] The single also reached #44 on the Cashbox pop singles chart in the U.S. and #33 in Australia based on the Kent Music Report. "Not Fade Away" was not on the UK version of their debut album, The Rolling Stones, but was the opening track of the US version released a month later as England's Newest Hitmakers. It was a mainstay at Rolling Stones concerts in their early years, usually opening the shows. It was revived in that capacity for their 1994-95 Voodoo Lounge Tour.


Sheryl Crow[edit]

Crow released her rendition of the song in 2007 as a charity single along with a national advertising campaign for Revlon Colorist. The single was made available on iTunes, racking up over 19,000 paid downloads and spawning a six-week US tour in support of the campaign.[7]

Chart (2007)[8] Peak
United States Billboard (Hot 100) 78
United States Billboard (Hot Digital Songs) 63
United States Billboard (Pop 100) 63


The Rush version of "Not Fade Away" was their debut single, released in 1973, eventually peaking at #88 in Canada. The B-side of this single, "You Can't Fight It", was the first original song Rush released. The single is rare and highly sought-after by collectors. Neither one of these songs was ever officially released on CD.

By others[edit]

"Not Fade Away" has been covered by many other groups, including Foreigner, John Entwistle's Ox, Status Quo, The Byrds, The Eyes as The Pupils, The Knack, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Pete Best Band, Tony Sheridan, Trout Fishing in America, and Tanya Tucker.[citation needed]

Many artists have played it in concert, including: Black Oak Arkansas, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Burton Cummings, Deep Purple, Jon Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, Joe Ely, Steve Hillage, Greg Kihn, Los Lobos, Tom Petty, Mitch Ryder, Tony Sheridan, Simon and Garfunkel, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Stills, James Taylor, U2, Paul Weller, Jack White, and Warren Zevon.[citation needed]

The Grateful Dead recorded the song and performed it in concert 532 times, making it their seventh-most performed song.[9] Versions of the song are included on the Skull and Roses (1971) and Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966 albums. "Not Fade Away" was the last song of the second set (before the encores) played on the last night of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead as the song has come to signify that the fans' love of the band and the band's love of the fans "will not fade away." [10][11]

In addition to those listed below, the following artists have released the song as a 45 single: including Jumpin' Beans & the Moustaches on Ball,[when?][citation needed] Rubberband on American Pla-Boy,[when?][citation needed] and The Why Four on Rampro.[when?][citation needed]


Paul McCartney controls the publishing rights to the song through MPL Communications.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]


  • The tune has been used (with similar, spoken lyrics) to advertise Scotch video cassettes.[citation needed]
  • As previously mentioned, in 2007, Revlon featured a commercial using the song in a recording by Sheryl Crow for Colorist.

Art and photography[edit]

  • Photographer Jim Marshall released a collection of iconic rock and roll photographs from the 1960s using the title of the song: Not Fade Away: The Rock and Roll Photography of Jim Marshall.


  • The film Christine (1983), adapted from the eponymous Stephen King novel, features two versions of the song played back to back: The Buddy Holly and the Crickets version of "Not Fade Away" appeared in the assembly line scene, which faded into the 1978 scene where the Tanya Tucker version is played while the main characters drive towards home after school.
  • A Jerry Garcia biography was titled Not Fade Away, The On-Line World Remember Jerry Garcia (1995). The song had been performed by The Grateful Dead and by the Jerry Garcia Band as a concert staple.
  • The movie, Not Fade Away (2012), based on the song and about the early 1960s rock explosion in the United States was directed by David Chase


  • Ben Fong-Torres' book, Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll (1999), is a collection of interviews and profiles from Rolling Stone magazine featuring behind-the-scenes accounts from the late 1960s through the 1980s.
  • Ronald Gordon's novel "Not Fade Away (2009) is an elegiac coming-of-age tale set in Texas in the summer of 1959. Andy Lerner, the protagonist, is an ardent Buddy Holly fan, and the late singer's music figures prominently throughout the novel.


  • The last episode of the final season of Angel was titled "Not Fade Away".
  • Season 1, episode 4 of Fear the Walking Dead is titled "Not Fade Away".
  • In the first season of the series Still Life, episode 5 featured a story entitled "Not Fade Away" (February, 2004).


  1. ^ a b c d e Buddy Holly - Greatest Hits 1995 MCA Records Liner Notes
  2. ^ a b Norman Petty interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. ^ a b The Real Buddy Holly Story (DVD, 1987). White Star Studios. 
  4. ^ Song artist 9 - The Rolling Stones..
  5. ^ Rolling Stones "Not Fade Away" reaches no.3 in UK singles chart. [1] retrieved 08/19/2007
  6. ^ Carr, Roy, The Rolling Stones, an Illustrated Record New English Library, London 1976
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ The SetList Program - Grateful Dead Setlists, Listener Experiences, and Statistics
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ The Beatles Bible.
  13. ^ Not Fade Away. Second Hand Songs.

External links[edit]