Rave On!

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For the album by The Kentucky Headhunters, see Rave On!!. For the 2011 Buddy Holly tribute album, see Rave On Buddy Holly.
"Rave On"
Single by Buddy Holly
B-side "Take Your Time"
Released April 20, 1958
June 6, 1958 (UK)
Format 7" single
Recorded January 1958, Bell Sound Studios, New York City, New York
Genre Rock and roll
Length 1:47
Label Coral C61985
Coral Q 72325 (UK)
Writer(s) West-Tilghman-Petty
Producer(s) Milton DeLugg
Buddy Holly singles chronology
"Maybe Baby"
"Rave On"
"Think It Over"

"Rave On" is a 1958 song written by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman and Norman Petty, first recorded by Sonny West (released February 1958, Atlantic 45-1174).[1] The hit version was recorded later that same year by Buddy Holly, and was one of his six songs that charted in 1958. Holly is instantly recognizable as the artist; the record begins with the drawn-out "Well…" as stylized by Holly's trademark hiccup ("Weh-uh-heh-uh-ell…").


Most of Holly's records were produced by his manager Norman Petty in New Mexico, but "Rave On" was recorded in New York by producer-bandleader Milton DeLugg. Holly's rendition is ranked #154 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2] The title was inspired by the 1956 Sun Records recording "Dixie Fried" by Carl Perkins, which uses the refrain "rave on."

1958 release as a 45 single on Coral Records.

The B side was the Buddy Holly composition "Take Your Time".

Other versions[edit]

"Rave On" has also been covered by Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band, Commander Cody, Status Quo, M. Ward, and folk-rock band Steeleye Span. It was a hit for The Delta Cross Band in Denmark in 1980.

In Australia in the early 1990s, the song was also used as comical background music for an Arnott's Shapes commercial. The song also partly features in the 1998 motion picture Pleasantville.

Joe Meek produced a version with singer Michael Cox, released in 1964 (b/w "Just Say Hello" HMV POP1293 A).

John Mellencamp also recorded a version for the Cocktail soundtrack in 1988.

The Real Kids recorded a cover version on their 1977 self-titled album.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded a cover version on their 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy.

In an interview, the Danish rock band The Raveonettes stated that their name is "a complete direct reference to The Ronettes and Buddy Holly Rave On."[3]

M. Ward recorded a cover of the song on his 2009 album Hold Time.

Denny Laine, guitarist of Wings and Moody Blues fame, covered the song on his 1977 Buddy Holly tribute Album Holly Days, produced by Paul McCartney.

Marshall Crenshaw covered the song live, which was released as a bonus track on the reissue of his self-titled album.

Julian Casablancas covered the song for the 2011 Buddy Holly tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly.

Cliff Richard covered the song on his 2013 album, The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook.



  • Amburn, Ellis (1996). Buddy Holly: A Biography. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-14557-6.
  • Bustard, Anne (2005). Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4223-9302-4.
  • Dawson, Jim; Leigh, Spencer (1996). Memories of Buddy Holly. Big Nickel Publications. ISBN 978-0-936433-20-2.
  • Gerron, Peggy Sue (2008). Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?. Togi Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-9800085-0-0.
  • Goldrosen, John; Beecher, John (1996). Remembering Buddy: The Definitive Biography. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80715-7.
  • Goldrosen, John (1975). Buddy Holly: His Life and Music. Popular Press. ISBN 0-85947-018-0
  • Gribbin, John (2009). Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly. London: Icon Books. ISBN 978-1-84831-034-6