The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #119: Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly and the Crickets (RS)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #119: Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly.

There was a real woman named Peggy Sue. She was the girlfriend of the drummer of Holly’s back-up band, The Crickets, Jerry Allison. When interviewed about it later, Peggy Sue Gerron claimed that she knew nothing about the song until she heard it being played aloud one night. As you can imagine, publicly professing one’s love like that will come across as being one of the most romantic gestures imaginable or else, it will be completely mortifying and embarrassing. For Gerron, she was, initially, embarrassed but, apparently she got over it because she and Allison ended up getting married and living together for many years before, eventually, divorcing.

“Peggy Sue” was originally written by Holly for his cousin named Cindy Lou. With “Cindy Lou” and “Peggy Sue” having the same number of syllables and the same cadence when sung aloud, Holly agreed with Allison to the change in names in order to help his pal out because the name change didn’t impact the overall sound of the song. As it turned out, “Peggy Sue” was Holly’s greatest hit and, also, one of his last hits. The ironic thing about it was that Holly has planned a follow-up song…one that would help flesh out what happened to Peggy Sue and her beloved. That song was called, “Peggy Sue Got Married”. It was found in demo form, on some tapes that Holly had with him “the night the music died”. That unfinished song went on to form the basis of a popular movie from the 1980s called, “Peggy Sue Got Married”, starring Kathleen Turner.

It is difficult to know for sure how prolific Buddy Holly’s career would have been had he not boarded that small plane that fateful night. But, it is reasonable to predict that his legacy would have lasted for more than just three albums and a handful of the most classic songs of the early Rock n’ Roll era. But, Buddy Holly’s legacy lived on in movies such as “La Bamba” and “Peggy Sue Got Married”, in his induction to The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and, for many years until her recent death, his legacy lived on in the form of a real woman named Peggy Sue Gerron who, on the anniversary of his death, would hold court via Ham radio, with Ham radio operators from around the world, telling everyone and anyone who would listen the story of Holly’s most famous song and that she was, in fact, the real Peggy Sue.

For now, here is “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly and the Crckets. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Buddy Holly and the Crickets, can be found here.

The link to a video of an interview given by Peggy Sue Gerron on the Morah Winfrey Show, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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