That’ll Be the Day

Buddy Holly

That’ll Be the Day” is a classic early rock and roll song written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison and recorded by various artists including The Crickets and Linda Ronstadt. It was also the first song to be recorded — albeit only as a demonstration disc — by The Quarrymen, the skiffle group that subsequently became The Beatles. Although Norman Petty was given a co-writing credit on it, he was not actually involved in the composition, but only in the production of this well-known recording.

Because Holly had signed a recording contract with Decca, he was contractually prohibited from re-recording any of the songs recorded during the 1956 Nashville sessions for five years, even if Decca never released them. To dodge this, producer Norman Petty credited the Crickets as the artist on this new recording of “That’ll Be the Day” to shield Buddy from possible legal action. Ironically, Brunswick Records was a subsidiary of Decca Records. Once the cat was out of the bag, Decca re-signed Holly to another of its subsidiaries, Coral Records, so he ended up with two recording contracts.

The song is considered a classic in the rock and roll genre and is listed at #39 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.