Buddy Holly “Peggy Sue” Classic 45 A Rock and Roll Classic That Crossed Over To Country

Buddy Holly "Peggy Sue"

“Peggy Sue” was the only Buddy Holly record to appear on any of the major country charts

This past Sunday was the 60th anniversary of “The Day The Music Died”. On that day, February 3rd, 1959, Buddy Holly perished, along with fellow performers Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, when their plane crashed, shortly after takeoff in Clear Lake, Iowa. I thought it appropriate that today’s Classic 45 be a Buddy Holly release.

Despite only living to the age of 22, Buddy Holly went from singing Johnnie & Jack and Louvin Brothers songs in school, to singing his own classics to the world. One of his biggest, “Peggy Sue”. Released in November, 1957, it quickly climbed both Billboard and Cashbox‘s pop charts, peaking at 3 and 2, respectively.

Here’s something that you may not know; “Peggy Sue” also briefly appeared in country music. It debuted on the Cashbox country chart in January, 1958, where it would spend 7 weeks, peaking at 15. It didn’t chart on the Billboard country chart.

Looking back, it’s surprising that it didn’t chart higher. Consider some of the singles on the country chart at that time. “Wake Up Little Susie”, “Jailhouse Rock”, and “Raunchy” were all in the top ten. Gene Vincent would soon be climbing the Cashbox country chart with the rockin’ “Lotta Lovin’ (Like “Peggy Sue”, “Lotta Lovin’ did not appear on Billboard‘s country chart).

As it turns out, “Peggy Sue” would be Buddy Holly’s only appearance on the country charts. However, well into the 1990’s his influence would be felt in the world of country music, notably through Waylon Jennings, who was famously working with Buddy at the time of Holly’s death. In addition, several of Holly’s songs would appear in country music, over the years, as well. Mickey Gilley’s version of “True Love Ways” and Ray Price’s version of “Rainin’ In My Heart” are but two examples.

It’s worth noting, as well, that the flip-side of “Peggy Sue” was “Everyday”. Holly’s version charted briefly on the Cashbox pop chart, peaking at 51. Twenty-eight years later, “Everyday” would give James Taylor his only Country Top forty appearance.

It’s worth noting, part 2: You’ll recall my recent post, about famous country musicians I am possibly related to. If you missed it, click here. Well, it’s interesting that on Sunday, the We’re Related app listed as a possible 7th cousin for me…Buddy Holly.

Mike The Country MusicologistMike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, and focuses on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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5 Responses to Buddy Holly “Peggy Sue” Classic 45 A Rock and Roll Classic That Crossed Over To Country

  1. Paul W Dennis says:

    Mike – I have the book JOEL WHITBURN’S HIT COUNTRY RECORDS 1954-1982 MUSIC VENDOR/RECORD WORLD . Feel free to contact me with any questions

    • Mike The Country Musicologist says:

      Ok, thanks. I didn’t realize that he had done any books on them. Thought he had only concentrated on Billboard, and done a little Cashbox.

  2. Eden says:

    AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Peggy Sue Gerron, whose name has echoed in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll history for six decades as the crush in the Buddy Holly classic song “Peggy Sue,” has died at the age of 78 in Lubbock, Texas, where she and Holly went to high school, officials said.

  3. Paul W Dennis says:

    According to Record World, the following four singles charted country for Buddy Holly: “Peggy Sue” (peak 15, six weeks charted), “Maybe Baby” (peak 26, five weeks charted), “I’m Gonna Love You Too” (peak 55, one week charted) and “Early In The Morning” (peak 13, ten weeks in the charts)

    When I lived in England (all of 1969 and parts of 1970 and 1971), Buddy Holly was considered country and local country acts often featured his songs.

    • Mike The Country Musicologist says:

      Interesting to know. I wondered, as I was writing this, if by chance any more had on RW, but unfortunately, I don’t have any good sources for their chart info.

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