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
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. Originally released as the B-side to the hit "Oh, Boy!", "Not Fade Away" was also included on the album The "Chirping" Crickets.

Contrary to the depiction in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story, 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 Records
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 late 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 spawned 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 John Entwistle's Ox, The Knack, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Pete Best Band, Tanya Tucker, Status Quo, The Byrds, The Eyes as The Pupils, Trout Fishing in America, and Foreigner. The following artists have released the song as a 45 single: Dick and Dee Dee on Warner Bros. Records in 1964, The Jaybirds on Embassy in 1964, Corporate Image on MGM in 1966, Group Axis on ATCO in 1969, Rubberband on American Pla-Boy, Jumpin' Beans & the Moustaches on Ball, The Why Four on Rampro, Frank White on Fantasy in 1973, Fumble on RCA in 1974, and Bo Diddley in 1976 on RCA Victor. Quicksilver Messenger Service covered the song on their live album At the Kabuki Theatre.

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]

Bobby Fuller recorded the song in 1962 which he released as a 45 single on Eastwood Records. Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jack White, Tony Sheridan, Steve Hillage, Joe Ely, Jon Bon Jovi, Patti Smith, James Taylor, Deep Purple, U2, Warren Zevon, Stephen Stills, Los Lobos, Mitch Ryder, Burton Cummings, Greg Kihn, Paul Weller, Black Oak Arkansas, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, and Simon and Garfunkel have played it in concert.

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.[12]

Tanya Tucker included a funky, rock 'n roll version of "Not Fade Away" on her 1978 album, TNT.

Queen performed the song live in concert at Wembley Arena in the UK in 1984 with Freddie Mercury on vocals.

James Taylor recorded a cover version on his 2008 album Covers.

The Supremes recorded a version in 1964, but it was unreleased until 2008.[13]

A cover of the song recorded by British band Florence + the Machine is featured on the 2011 release Rave on Buddy Holly, a tribute album featuring performances of Holly's music by various artists.

The Everly Brothers recorded the song in 1972 on RCA Victor and released it as a single.

Connie Francis recorded the song on her 1996 album release With Love to Buddy, a tribute album to Buddy Holly.

Besides the Rolling Stones and Sheryl Crow, two other artists have had chart hits in the U.S. with this song: Tanya Tucker peaked at no. 70 on the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart in 1979, and a new wave-ish take by British artist Eric Hine who peaked at no. 73 on the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart in 1981.

Mick Fleetwood recorded a cover of the song in Accra, Ghana, West Africa for his solo album The Visitor in 1981.

John Hiatt makes reference to the song in Slow Turning; the phrase, "Not fade away," is repeated several times after the chorus.

Stevie Nicks contributed a cover version for the tribute album, Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, released in Sept 2011.

Los Búhos released the song in Spanish as a 7" single in 1964 in Argentina as "No Temas Amar" on CBS as 321.325.

The tune has been used (with similar, spoken lyrics) to advertise Scotch video cassettes.

Paul McCartney controls the publishing rights to the song through MPL Communications.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2012, an eponymous movie based on the song was released directed by David Chase on the early 1960s rock explosion in the United States.

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.

A Jerry Garcia biography used the title of the song: Not Fade Away, The On-Line World Remember Jerry Garcia in 1995. The song had been performed by The Grateful Dead and by the Jerry Garcia Band as a concert staple.

Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll by Ben Fong-Torres was published in 1999. The book is a collection of interviews and profiles from Rolling Stone magazine featuring behind-the-scenes accounts from the late 1960s through the 1980s.

In the first season of the series Still Life, episode 5 featured a story entitled "Not Fade Away" from February, 2004.

In 2007, Revlon featured a commercial using the song in a recording by Sheryl Crow for Colorist.

The last episode of the final season of Angel was titled "Not Fade Away."

In 1983, two versions of the song were heard back to back in the film "Christine", adapted from a Steven King novel of the same name. The Buddy Holly and the Crickets version of "Not Fade Away" appeared in the assembly line scene of "Christine", which faded into the 1978 scene where the Tanya Tucker version is played while the main characters drove towards home after school.


  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]