Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It Does Matter

It was fifty years ago today, on October 21st, 1958, that Buddy Holly went into the studio for the last time, cutting "True Love Ways," "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," and "Raining in My Heart." (There may have been other tracks laid down at that session; my Buddy Holly discography is not exhaustive.) According to a guy I heard on the radio this morning, this was also the first time that a rock & roll song was recorded with an orchestra.

Holly was in New York at the time, rather than his regular digs in Clovis New, Mexico, and his producer wasn't Norman Petty but Dick Jacobs, who also directed the orchestra on the session.

I hear a lot about how Leiber and Stoller were the first to use strings on an R&B song with the Drifters' "There Goes My Baby," in 1959. I can't find when that song was recorded, but the single came out in May of 1959. Since "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" had made the Top Forty by March of 1959, eventually peaking at Number Thirteen, I think we can assume that it was the first string-laden rock single.


Rob said...

According to Bronson, the biggest hit of 1958 was Tommy Edwards’s “It’s All In The Game,” which has strings all over the place and is quite a bit closer to rock & roll than “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.”

FWIW, the other song Buddy recorded at this nightmare of a session was “Moondreams,” which is almost as bad as “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” This was his final studio session, but some of his greatest and most famous songs come from his December 1958/January 1959 home recordings, including “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” “What To Do” and “Learning the Game.”

T. Nawrocki said...

"It's All in the Game" was written in 1912, which makes it not exactly rock & roll in my book. I usually hear Tommy Edwards described as an R&B singer, and the song sounds fairly doo-woppy to me.

However you want to characterize it, it replaces either "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" or "There Goes My Baby" as the first song of its genre with strings. Unless, of course, there was something else before "Game."