.

Song Stories

“That'll Be the Day”

Buddy Holly and the Crickets | 1957

Buddy Holly and drummer Jerry Allison started playing together as teenagers in a Lubbock, Texas, garage. "We weren’t interested in ball games or hot rods--we were interested in playing [music]," Allison recalled. "We thought if you could get a record out, you’d have a hit, you could buy a Cadillac." Their dream came true with this tough-talking twangfest, which Holly and Allison co-wrote after seeing the John Wayne western The Searchers, during which the Duke repeatedly uttered the title phrase. The song became the first of a string of hits that was tragically cut off when Holly died in a plane crash at age 22.

Watch elite rockers speak about Buddy Holly, behind the scenes of a tribute album.
prev
Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com