Meaning of That’ll Be the Day by Buddy Holly & Song Story

The two minutes and sixteen seconds that That’ll Be the Day has played a very important role in the history of rock and roll. Buddy Holly’s song has been an inspiration to many aspiring musicians and has given established artists a fresh look at the genre.

Interestingly, the seasoned bosses of Decca did not consider a future hit in the composition and postponed the release of the plastic for an indefinite period. If not for the cunning of producer Norman Petty (Norman Petty), the release of Buddy’s future business card might not have taken place.

History of That’ll Be the Day

In 1956, Buddy Holly and drummer Jerry Ellison went to see the film The Seachers in their hometown of Lubbock, Texas. In the course of the picture, the character of John Wayne (John Wayne) often repeated: “That’ll be the day.” Literally, the expression is translated into Russian as “the day will come”, but more often it is used in the meaning of “very unlikely”, “hell”.

As legend has it, when the buddies left the cinema, Buddy remarked that it would be nice to record a hit. Jerry responded with the movie hero’s favorite phrase, imitating his voice. So the idea came up to write a song under that name.

Jerry Ellison told how the composition came about:

We recorded That’ll Be the Day just as a demo to send to New York and see if they liked the sound of the band, not to make a record. So we just went in, tuned in and slacked off the song.

Rolling stone

The first studio recording of the track Buddy Holly and The Three Tunes was made on July 22, 1956 in Nashville with the participation of producer Owen Bradley (Owen Bradley). The Decca management did not like it, and the record was shelved.

Under the contract, Buddy Holly did not have the right to re-record the finished compositions for five years, but producer Norman Patty (Norman Petty) found a way out. The new version was credited to The Crickets.

Release and achievements

In May 1957, the song was released as a single on the Brunswick label, also owned by Decca. It topped the charts in the US and UK.

In September of the same year, Decca Studio released the first version of the track on the back of the Rock around with Ollie Vee single.

That’ll Be the Day is included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Cover versions

It was the first song that John Lennon learned to play on the guitar. In 1958, it also became the first demo of The Quarrymen, composed of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lowe and Colin Hanton.

McCartney recalled:

I remember when I heard That’ll Be the Day and the phrase: “That’ll be the day-hey-hey when I die”. Will I die? In a pop song? It was gloomy. We liked it very much.

New Yorker, 2007

Let’s listen to The Quarrymen’s version.

The song was also performed by The Ravens, Bobby Vee, The Everly Brothers.

In 1976, Linda Ronstadt released That’ll Be the Day as the first single from the album Hasten down the Wind. Her version peaked at number two in Canada and peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100.

Interesting Facts

  • Producer Norma Petty is listed as a co-author of the composition, although he did not compose either the words or the music, but only took part in the recording of the track.
  • The 1973 feature film of the same name about a guy who dreams of becoming a rock star is named after the song.
  • Record That’ll Be the Day by The Quarrymen, released in 1958, is estimated by collectors at one hundred and fifty thousand pounds.
  • The final line of the chorus is considered prophetic for Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash. The tragedy was called “The Day the Music Died”.

Buddy Holly Lyrics

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, you give me all your loving and your turtle doving
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby, until you tell me, maybe
That someday, well I’ll be through

Chorus x2

Well, when Cupid shot his dart he shot it at your heart
So if we ever part and I leave you
You sit and hold me and you tell me boldly
That someday, well I’ll be blue


Buddy Holly Lyrics That’ll Be the Day Lyrics Alternative

There will be a day when you say goodbye.
Yes, there will be a day when you will make me cry.
You say you’re leaving but you know it’s a lie
For this will be the day I die.

You give me all your love and coo softly
You give hugs, kisses and money too.
You know you love me baby until you might say
That one day it will all be over between us

Chorus – 2 times

When Cupid fired the arrow, he hit your heart
So if we break up and I leave you,
Sit down, hug me and tell me boldly
That one day I will yearn


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