Buddy Holly: Not Fade Away
I couldn’t resist the irony of this one. That’s right, the original recording of Not Fade Away fades out at the end. But the song never has. People have done all kinds of things with the song. The Rolling Stones gave it an intentionally muddy production, but with a great harmonica part. For the Grateful Dead, the song became a staple of their live shows, and a frame to hang some of their trademark jams on. There is even an ill-advised version by Diana Ross and the Supremes. And I assume the song is still played by bar bands everywhere.
So it’s surprising to go back, and here just how simple and skeletal the original is. Holly and the band set up that Bo Diddley beat, with no adornment, and they just ride it for just under two and a half minutes. There is barely any room for solos or anything else. Holly and his handlers probably thought they could have a quick hit by following the Bo Diddley beat fad, and that the song would ultimately be forgotten. Maybe someday, but it hasn’t happened yet.