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, Clovis, New Mexico[1]
Genre Rock and roll, rockabilly
Length 2:21
Label Brunswick single 55035[1]
Writer(s) Charles Hardin, Norman Petty
Language English
Producer(s) 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 likely to have been a formality[3]) and first recorded by Holly and his band, the Crickets.[2]

Crickets' version[edit]

Holly and the Crickets recorded the song in Clovis, New Mexico, on May 27, 1957, the same day the song "Everyday" was recorded.[1] The rhythmic pattern of "Not Fade Away" 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 was an update of the "hambone" rhythm, or patted juba from Western Africa. Jerry Allison, the drummer for the Crickets, pounded out the beat on a cardboard box.[3] Allison, Holly's best friend, wrote some of the lyrics, though his name never appeared in the songwriting credits. Joe Mauldin played the double bass on this recording. It is likely that the backing vocalists were Holly, Allison, and Niki Sullivan, but this is not known for certain.[1]

"Not Fade Away" was originally released as the B-side of the hit single "Oh, Boy!" and was included on the album The "Chirping" Crickets (1958).

Along with the familiar take 2 of "Not Fade Away", there exists a take 1, the first verse of which is missing; it has been released with the first part of take 1 spliced into it.[citation needed]

Contrary to the depiction in the film The Buddy Holly Story (1978), "Not Fade Away" was not the last song Holly performed in his final concert, in Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 2, 1959, just before his death in a plane crash. At a symposium held in Clear Lake in observance of the 50th anniversary of his death,[citation needed] in a panel discussion with Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch, and Bob Hale (the master of ceremonies at Holly's final show), all agreed that the final song of the night was Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", performed by all of the acts on the bill.

In 2004, this song was ranked number 107 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". 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"
Released 21 February 1964 (1964-02-21)
Format 7-inch single
Length 1:48
Label Decca
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

The Rolling Stones[edit]

In 1964, the Rolling Stones' cover of "Not Fade Away", with a strong Bo Diddley beat, was a major hit in Britain. It was the A-side of the band's first US single.[4]

The Rolling Stones' version of "Not Fade Away" was one of their first hits. Recorded in January 1964 and released by Decca Records on February 21, 1964, with "Little by Little" as the B-side, it was their first Top 5 hit in Great Britain, reaching number 3.[5] In March 1964, it was also the band's first single released in the United States, on the London Records label, with "I Wanna Be Your Man" as the B-side (briefly preceded by "Stoned", which was quickly withdrawn). The single reached number 48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[6] It also reached number 44 on the Cash Box pop singles chart in the U.S. and number 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 of the band's concerts in their early years, usually opening the shows. It was revived as the opening song in the band's Voodoo Lounge Tour, in 1994 and 1995.

Chart (1964) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[7] 5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 48

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.[10]

Chart (2007)[11] Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 78
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs 63
US Billboard Pop 100 63

Other cover versions[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, the Everly Brothers, 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 often performed song.[12] Versions of the song are included on the albums Skull and Roses (1971) and Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966. "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." [13][14]

In addition to those listed below, the following artists have released the song as a 45-rpm single: 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]

  • Bobby Fuller recorded the song in 1962 which he released as a 45-rpm single on Eastwood Records.
  • Dick and Dee Dee released the song as a 45-rpm single on Warner Bros. Records in 1964.
  • Los Búhos released the song in Spanish as a 7" single in Argentina as "No Temas Amar" (1964), on CBS as 321.325.
  • The Jaybirds released the song as a 45 single on Embassy in 1964.
  • Corporate Image released the song as a 45-rpm single on MGM in 1966.
  • Group Axis released the song as a 45-rpm singleon ATCO in 1969.
  • The Beatles performed the song live during the January, 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions in London with John Lennon and George Harrison on vocals.[15]
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service covered the song on their live album At the Kabuki Theatre (1969–1970).
  • The Everly Brothers recorded the song in 1972 on RCA Victor and released it as a single.
  • Frank White released the song as a 45-rpm single on Fantasy in 1973.
  • Fumble released the song as a 45-rpm single on RCA in 1974.
  • Bo Diddley released the song as a 45-rpm single in 1976 on RCA Victor.
  • Tanya Tucker included a funky, rock-and-roll version of "Not Fade Away" on her album, TNT (1978).
  • Stephen Stills Did cover of the song on his album, Thoroughfare Gap (1978).
  • Tanya Tucker's cover of this song peaked at number 70 on the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart in 1979.[citation needed]
  • A new wave-ish take by the British artist Eric Hine peaked at number 73 on the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart in 1981.
  • Mick Fleetwood recorded a cover of the song in Accra, Ghana, for his solo album The Visitor (1981).
  • Queen performed the song in concert at Wembley Arena in the UK in 1984 with Freddie Mercury on vocals.
  • John Hiatt makes reference to the song in Slow Turning (1988); the phrase Not fade away is repeated several times after the chorus.
  • Connie Francis recorded the song on her album With Love to Buddy (1996), a tribute album to Holly.
  • The Supremes recorded a version in 1964, but it was unreleased until 2008.[16]
  • James Taylor recorded a cover version on his album Covers (2008).
  • The British band Florence + the Machine recorded a cover of the song; their version is included on Rave on Buddy Holly (2011), a tribute album featuring performances of Holly's music by various artists.
  • Stevie Nicks contributed a cover version for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly (2011).
  • The Rush version of "Not Fade Away" was their debut single, released in 1973 and peaking at number 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, as neither of these songs has been officially reissued on CD.


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.[17]
  • 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 novel of the same title by Stephen King, used two versions of the song played back-to-back: the version by Holly and the Crickets in the assembly line scene, which faded into the 1978 scene in which the Tanya Tucker version is played while the main characters drive toward home after school.
  • The movie Not Fade Away (2012), directed by David Chase, is about rock-and-roll music in the United States in the early 1960s.


  • Not Fade Away: The On-Line World Remember Jerry Garcia (1995) is a biography of Jerry Garcia. The song had been a staple of concerts by the Grateful Dead and by the Jerry Garcia Band.
  • Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll (1999), by Ben Fong-Torres, is a collection of interviews and profiles from Rolling Stone magazine, featuring behind-the-scenes accounts from the late 1960s through the 1980s.
  • Not Fade Away (2009), a novel by Ronald Gordon, is an elegiac coming-of-age tale set in Texas in the summer of 1959. Andy Lerner, the protagonist, is an ardent Holly fan, and the late singer's music figures prominently in the novel.


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


  1. ^ a b c d e Buddy Holly: Greatest Hits. Liner notes. 1995. MCA Records.
  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 5 - The Rolling Stones". 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  5. ^ <. "Gloucestershire - People - Brian Jones (1942-1969)". BBC. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  6. ^ Carr, Roy (1976). The Rolling Stones, an Illustrated Record. London: New English Library.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Not Fade Away". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Rolling Stones: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  9. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  10. ^ "NEWS FEBRUARY 2007". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Sheryl Crow | Awards". AllMusic. 1962-02-11. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  12. ^ "The SetList Program - Grateful Dead Setlists, Listener Experiences, and Statistics". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  13. ^ "Grateful Dead Closes Out 'Fare Thee Well' Reunion - Speakeasy - WSJ". 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  14. ^ Mark Guarino. "Grateful Dead: final concerts unite fans and band as legends fade away | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Get Back/Let It Be sessions: complete song list". The Beatles Bible. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  16. ^ "Original versions of Not Fade Away written by Buddy Holly,Norman Petty". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  17. ^ "Scotch Videocassettes - Re-record, Not Fade Away (1985, UK)". YouTube. 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 

External links[edit]