Friday, April 4, 2008

The Crickets featuring Buddy Holly, “Oh Boy”

The first record I came across was Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy!” Or rather the Crickets’ since Buddy Holly was contractually tied to Decca at the time of its release. Decca had produced Holly’s first lack luster singles that didn’t get any action on the charts. Decca had let Buddy go but prohibited him to re-cut any material he had recorded previously for Decca, whether Decca intended on releasing or not. In an ironic twist Decca’s subsidiary Coral showed interest in signing Holly after Decca let him go. This didn’t mean Buddy could record freely for Coral though. Decca still threatened suit if he re-cut anything, even though they would ultimately earn from it. Go figure! Amongst those tracks Buddy had burning in his pocket to re-record was “Oh Boy!”.

Thus the Crickets were born as a fictional group and signed to Brunswick. “Oh Boy!” became their second single with the, for Springsteen fans, all to familiar “Fade Away” on the flip side. Revolutionary about Buddy Holly and the Crickets early singles were the fact that they wrote their own material. Something that was very uncommon in those days. As such they paved the way for the later great R&R songwriters such as Springsteen. “Oh Boy!” wasn’t penned by Holly though, the credit for this gem goes to Norm Petty (together with Sonny West and Bill Tilghman) , ground breaking song writer and producer. His way of working was quite the opposite from Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound. Petty was a minimalist master, more Nebraska less Born To Run.

The version I’ve tracked down was intended for the European market. Despite the contractual obligations “Oh Boy!” was released in the Netherlands with “Peggy Sue”, a solo recording for Holly in the US, as the flip on the Coral label. On this Dutch release “Oh Boy” is credited to The Crickets with Buddy Holly. The US Brunswick release feebly attempts to cloud Holly had any part in the recording by crediting it to the Crickets. Springsteen performed the song three times in his career according to the Killing Floor. Twice during the Darkness tour of 1978 and once on 1996 in Ireland together with Joe Ely.

Oh Boy! Buddy Holly

Oh Boy! Springsteen August 4th 1978

MP3 File

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