That'll Be the Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Buddy Holly song. For the 1958 album, see That'll Be the Day (album). For the 1973 film, see That'll Be the Day (film). For the UK theatre show, see That'll Be the Day (musical).
"That'll Be the Day"
1957 U.S 45 release on Brunswick, 9-55009.
Single by The Crickets
from the album The "Chirping" Crickets
B-side "I'm Looking For Someone to Love"
Released May 1957 (1957-05)[1]
Format 7" 45 rpm, 10" 78 rpm
Recorded February 25, 1957, Norman Petty Recording Studio, Clovis, New Mexico[1]
Length 2:16
Label Brunswick U.S single 55009; Coral Records, UK single Q.72279; Coral Records BS-1578, Australian 78 single, BSP45-1578, 45 single
Writer(s) Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty
Producer(s) Norman Petty[2]
Certification Certified Gold by the RIAA[3]
The Crickets singles chronology
"That'll Be the Day"
(May 1957)
"Oh, Boy!"
(Oct 1957)
Buddy Holly chronology
"Modern Don Juan"
(Dec 1956)
"That'll Be the Day"
(May 1957)
"Words of Love"
(Jun 1957)
"That'll Be the Day"
B-side to "Rock Around With Ollie Vee" by Buddy Holly
Released September 2, 1957 (1957-09-02)
Recorded July 22, 1956
Bradley’s Barn, Nashville, Tennessee
Label Decca D30434[4]
Producer Owen Bradley

"That'll Be the Day" is a classic early rock and roll song written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison and recorded by The Crickets and various artists including Linda Ronstadt. It was also the first song to be recorded — albeit only as a demonstration disc — by The Quarrymen, the skiffle group that subsequently became The Beatles.[5] Although Norman Petty was given a co-writing credit on it, he was not actually involved in the composition, but only in the production of this well-known recording.[6]

The 1957 Buddy Holly recording was certified gold - for over a million US sales in 1969 by the RIAA. The 1957 Brunswick Records single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 2005, the 1957 recording was placed in the National Recording Registry, a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States."

The Crickets version[edit]


The song had its genesis in a trip to the movies by Holly, Allison and Sonny Curtis in June 1956. The John Wayne film The Searchers was playing. Wayne's frequently-used, world-weary catchphrase, "that'll be the day" inspired the young musicians.

The first version of the song was recorded at Bradley’s Barn, Nashville on July 22, 1956 was released as B-side to "Rock Around With Ollie Vee", credited to Buddy Holly, on 2 September 1957 (Decca D30434) and can be found on the 1958 album That'll Be the Day.[7]

Because Holly had signed a recording contract with Decca, he was contractually prohibited from re-recording any of the songs recorded during the 1956 Nashville sessions for five years, even if Decca never released them. To dodge this, producer Norman Petty credited the Crickets as the artist on this new recording of "That'll Be the Day" to shield Buddy from possible legal action.[1][2] Ironically, Brunswick Records was a subsidiary of Decca Records. Once the cat was out of the bag, Decca re-signed Holly to another of its subsidiaries, Coral Records, so he ended up with two recording contracts. His group efforts would be issued by Brunswick, and his solo recordings would be on Coral.

The second recorded version of this song was made eight months later, at the Norman Petty studios in Clovis, New Mexico, on February 25, 1957, and issued on Decca's Brunswick label three months later.[1]

The re-recorded version of "That'll Be the Day" was released by Brunswick Records on May 27, 1957, and is featured on the debut album by the Crickets, The "Chirping" Crickets, which was issued on November 27, 1957. The song is considered a classic in the rock and roll genre and is listed at #39 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8]

1957 Australian 78 release, BS-1578.

Charts and certification[edit]

The Brunswick single became a number-one hit on the 1957 "Best Sellers in Stores" chart in Billboard magazine. The song also went to number two on Billboard's R&B singles chart.[9] The song peaked at No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in November 1957, and had a three-week reign.[10]

On December 20, 1969 a re-issue of the single by Coral Records was awarded a gold single by the RIAA.[3]

On September 20, 1986 the song appeared on the UK Singles Chart at #85, and fell off the charts a week later.[11]


(February 25, 1957 at Norman Petty Recording Studio)

  • Buddy Holly - lead guitar and vocals
  • Larry Welborn - bass
  • Jerry Allison - drums
  • Niki Sullivan - background vocals
  • June Clark - background vocals
  • Gary Tollett - background vocals
  • Ramona Tollett - background vocals

(July 22, 1956 at Bradley’s Barn, Nashville)[7]

  • Buddy Holly - vocals, guitar
  • Sonny Curtis - guitar
  • Don Guess - bass
  • Jerry Allison - drums

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

"That'll Be the Day"
Single by Linda Ronstadt
from the album Hasten Down the Wind
B-side "Crazy"
Released August 1976
Format 7"
Recorded 1976
Genre Pop, Country Rock
Label Asylum
Writer(s) Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty
Producer(s) Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt singles chronology
"Tracks of My Tears"
"That'll Be the Day"
"Someone to Lay Down Beside Me"


Linda Ronstadt covered "That'll Be the Day" on her 1976 Grammy Award-winning Platinum-certified album Hasten Down the Wind. Produced by Peter Asher and issued on Asylum Records, her version of the song made it to number 11 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the Cash Box Top 100.

Considered too raucous for the format, it peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. In Canada, her version peaked at number 2 on the singles chart, and was the 35th biggest hit of 1976. It was also an adult contemporary charting hit in both nations. The song is also included on Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits (also 1976) and on the 2011 tribute album, Listen to Me: Buddy Holly.

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly singles Chart (1976) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles 2
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 14
Canadian RPM Country 17
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 11
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 16
U.S. Billboard Country 27
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 11
Year-end Chart (1976) Position
Canada 35
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [12] 93

Other versions[edit]

1957 sheet music cover, Nor Va Jak Music, Inc., New York.
  • The Ravens covered the song in 1957, ARGO 5276.
  • In 1958, the song was the first track ever recorded by The Quarrymen. Their rendition, intended just as a demonstration disc, was issued officially on the Beatles compilation album Anthology 1 in 1995. The one and only 1958 pressing is thought to be one of the world's most valuable records, worth an estimated £100,000 [13] Norman Petty sold the publishing rights to the Buddy Holly catalogue to Paul McCartney in 1979.
  • It was covered by Bobby Vee on his 1963 LP "I Remember Buddy Holly", Liberty LRP-3336/LST-7336. of note as Bobby Velline (Bobby Vee) and his band performed as the Shadows in the Winter Dance Party tour the day after the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly.
  • It was covered by The Everly Brothers who released it as a 45 single, Warner Brothers 5611, in 1965. The single reached number 30 on the UK charts.
  • The song was part of Skeeter Davis' 1967 album Skeeter Davis Sings Buddy Holly alongside It's So Easy!, years before Linda Ronstadt achieved tremendous success with both.
  • Paul and Barry Ryan covered the song on their debut album Two of a Kind (Decca LP LK4878, 1967).
  • The Flamin' Groovies covered "That'll be the Day" in 1972; their rendition is on the reissue of their album Teenage Head.
  • Foghat did a cover on their 1974 album Energized.
  • The La's covered the song in 1986.
  • Overboard has a rendition on their 2008 album Castaways.
  • Modest Mouse covered the song for the 2011 album Rave On Buddy Holly.
  • In 2011, an all-star ensemble performed the song for the PBS special Listen to Me, which included Stevie Nicks, Peter Asher, Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs, and Graham Nash.


  1. ^ a b c d Buddy Holly - Greatest Hits 1995 MCA Records Liner Notes
  2. ^ a b Norman Petty interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. ^ a b "Searchable Database". RIAA's Gold & Platinum Program. RIAA. Retrieved 17 November 2012. Search for "Buddy Holly." 
  4. ^ "Buddy Holly: That'll Be The Day" (PDF). The Great Rock 'n' Roll Heroes. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Anthology 1
  6. ^ The Real Buddy Holly Story (DVD, 1987). White Star Studios. 
  7. ^ a b "BUDDY HOLLY: That'll Be The Day". Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 259. 
  10. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 33. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  11. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2014-04-03. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "NME - 20 Most Valuable Records". Retrieved 2014-04-03. 


Preceded by
"Diana" by Paul Anka
UK number one single
November 1, 1957 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mary's Boy Child" by Harry Belafonte