Rock and Roll, of the early variety, is great for being down the shore or singing along to in the car, but for my dollar it wasn't until the 60's when songs had more meaning behind them with the cultural watersheds around the world to come in the mid 60's. That said, there is only one artist that sticks out to me from the early era of rock and roll. That is Buddy Holly & the Crickets. The music that Buddy Holly inspired is more my speed then that of what Elvis Presley has inspired. Even Chuck Berry and some other great acts of that time just don't stick with me the way Buddy does. Picking one Buddy Holly song was actually more tough than some of the other prolific artists on this list but "That'll Be The Day" is probably the one song that will last forever in his catalog. More so than "Everyday" and Peggy Sue", this track has the rebel spirit that marked the rock and roll movement, has all the vocal stylings that make Buddy a unique voice in rock and roll and the rockabilly guitars that would mark a great impression on the early Beatles.
People make fun of emo bands (including myself), but the earliest of rock and roll artists sang primarily about heartbreak and love. It's what young listeners want to hear. A teenager can relate to the lyrics of lost love or the idea of letting go, or in this case saying the day that I die is the day you lose me. Very dramatic and naive. The songs music definitely shadows this feeling and it's catchy as hell. You will still hear Buddy Holly on jukeboxes around the world. It's transcendent pop music perfection.
The death of Buddy Holly makes this song even more poignant and the line "This will be the day that I die" from Don McLean's fantastic ode "American Pie" is a direct rewrite of "That'll be the day that I die." American rock and roll would later influence British bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who and many more. This legacy alone makes Buddy worthy of praice, but it helps that the song is infectious and timeless.
Up Next: Roy Orbison sheds some tears.