Today’s song is ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’. This song was written and performed by Buddy Holly. It was posthumously released in 1959 as a 45-rpm single with ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’. It refers to his hit song ‘Peggy Sue’. It was one of the first sequels of the rock era.
Buddy Holly recorded the vocal, accompanying himself on guitar, on December 8, 1958, in apartment 4H of "The Brevoort" on New York City's Fifth Avenue. Studio musicians recorded backup vocals and instrumentals on June 30, 1959, at ‘Coral Records’ Studio A in New York. An alternate version of the song, with new instrumentals but without backup singers, was recorded in 1964.
The studio recording sessions and overdubs for ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ were like those for the posthumous track ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’. Buddy Holly's original, undubbed home recording was used as the theme music in the film ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’.
The Crickets recorded their own version after Buddy Holly's death in 1959. David Box, a native of Lubbock, Texas, and a near-identical Buddy Holly soundalike joined the group as lead vocalist for this version of ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ which was released in the United States as the B-side of Coral 62238 in 1960. The Crickets had decided to use the original arrangements they had used for ‘Peggy Sue’ with the only change being David Box on lead vocal.
Other singers that covered the song included Ricki Henderson: Roger Smith: Fleetwood Mac: The Beatles and The Hollies.
I never realised until I researched this song a few weeks ago, that the version of the song that The Crickets recorded after Buddy Holly’s death in 1959, used the voice of sound-a-like singer David Box from Lubbock, Texas. My initial reaction was this act to have been highly disrespectful; something that was done in unseemly haste before Buddy Holly’s body had barely turned cold in his grave.
It brought my mind to my years in my late twenties when I worked in a textile firm in Brighouse West Yorkshire for around three years. I had relinquished a Mill Manager’s job on the night shift in Cleckheaton so that I could free-up my evening hours up to return to night school and obtain examination qualifications for university entrance. For three/four nights weekly, I would leave work at 6:00 pm and dash off to night school in Cleckheaton where I would study for the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A-level’ examinations I required for university entrance as a mature student approaching thirty years of age.
While working in the Brighouse mill, one of my workmates made me conscious of how soon that some people who die are forgotten. There was a row of four perching machines (to examine rolls of finished cloth and mark up any faults for mending). I operated one perching machine and my workmate who operated the machine next to me was a man called Albert. Albert (who was a year away from retirement age) was a reformed alcoholic, gambler, atheist and womaniser. He had played cricket during his twenties and had also ‘played the field’ when it came to the pursuit of every good looking woman he thought he might be able to take beyond the boundary line.
Albert’s addiction to beautiful women was no less potent than any of his other addictions, and it led to his eventual downfall. It was his misfortune to meet the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on during his wildest of years in his mid-twenties and was instantly smitten by every sensual feature about her. However, she turned out to be chameleon in female composition, and before he realised that she would never be the type of woman he’d be able to ‘knock for a six’ on a Saturday night, he‘d been well and truly stumped. She’d pulled up the wickets of his wicked past life and broke his bat in two!
After becoming pregnant (having laid with Albert early on in their relationship), no other physical contact was reportedly allowed until after he’d married her, following a four-year engagement period. And then, all future physical contact was routinely scheduled on her ‘must-do-occasionally wifely calendar’. Having coaxed him into her spider’s web, one year prior to them getting married, Albert had been converted to full-blown Methodism. He reluctantly ended all previous association with his past life of gambling and drink. He became teetotal and broke off all contact with all his old drinking buddies, who thereafter referred to Albert as being a perfect example of why any happy bachelor should stay single and should never contemplate marriage to an ardent church-loving woman, and instead remain forever bad.
The only pleasure Albert got after his marriage never derived from his presence at home but what mischief he was able to get up to in his daily work at the mill. Albert was probably one of the best storytellers I have known. He smoked a pipe at work, but never at home. No work-shift ever passed without Albert telling us some tale or providing us with his pearls of wisdom. He knew how to capture an audience with his stories and keep them spellbound throughout.
One day during our fifteen-minute sandwich break, Albert expounded the view ‘that the world carries on turning whatever happens to us individually’. When asked to explain, he replied to his attentive group of four listeners.
"Take Bill here, for example," Albert continued. "If Bill left work tonight, and on his way home, he was run over by a ten-ton truck and instantly killed, how do you think we would respond the next day we came to work and found him absent from his perching machine? Picture it. We'd be having our sandwich break and wondering why Bill hadn’t turned up for his work shift this morning when the foreman arrived to tell us the tragic news that had befallen our workmate the previous evening. After receiving the sad news that 26-year-old Bill had 'snuffed it', what do you think we’d all do?” Albert asked us.
After lighting up his pipe to puff on as we patiently awaited his response, Albert eventually said, "What would happen after we’d been told of Bill’s death would be...nothing of significance. We’d all say something like ‘that was bad luck’ before continuing to eat the rest of our ham sandwiches and moving on with our lives and the next topic for discussion!”
The real irony about Albert’s tale was that he probably wasn’t too far from the mark in his comments and observations of life. This time in my life immediately sprung back to mind after I read about the decision by Buddy's band of friends to record Buddy Holly’s song after his death with a sound-alike singer. This episode illustrated indisputably that whatever the tragedy, life still goes on!
My song today is dedicated to my Facebook friend, Jo Beckett who lives in Warwick, Warwickshire. Jo worked as a veterinary nurse until a dozen years ago and her Facebook page reveals her to be an ardent dog lover. Have a nice day, Jo, and thank you for being my Facebook friend. Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx