Buddy Holly

Peggy Sue

Composed by Jerry Allison / Buddy Holly / Norman Petty

Song Review by

Throbbing paradiddles by innovative drummer Jerry Allison propelling it onward like a skyrocket, "Peggy Sue" stands as one of Buddy Holly's crowning achievements during a tragically truncated career. Holly's hiccupping vocals were seldom more charming; his crashing guitar solo was a rousing barrage of savage Tex-Mex chords, Allison's drumming brought a new dimension to rock & roll timekeeping, and the song's chord sequence was just distinctive enough to stand tall during a year that was absolutely filled to bursting with seminal rock & roll platters. No wonder it catapulted up to number three on Billboard's pop charts in late 1957/early 1958. The classic collaboration between Holly and Allison had originally been envisioned by Holly as "Cindy Lou," but Allison suggested the switch to honor his girlfriend and future wife, Peggy Sue. Producer Norman Petty also is listed as one of the song's writers (Remembering Buddy, John Goldrosen and John Beecher's fine Holly biography, credits Petty with brainstorming the memorable chord change under the "Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue" line); the track was cut at the close of June 1957, during three fruitful days of sessions at Petty's Clovis, NM, studios with only Allison and bassist Joe B. Mauldin abetting Holly's singular guitar work. Instead of issuing it on the Brunswick logo under the moniker of the Crickets as his smash "That'll Be the Day" had been, "Peggy Sue" hit the shelves under Holly's own name on another Decca subsidiary, Coral Records. When "Oh, Boy!" came out only a month after "Peggy Sue" as by the Crickets, Holly was riding sky-high with three Top Ten smashes in barely more than three months.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1957 1957
Various Artists
Rhino 2:31
Buddy Holly 1958 MCA 2:29
No Image 1960 Decca
Reminiscing 1963 Castle Music Ltd. 0:00
No Image 1966 Coral Music Group
Greatest Hits [Coral] 1967 2:22
No Image 1972 2:28
No Image 1975 MCA
No Image 1976
Various Artists
MCA 2:26
The Buddy Holly Story [Epic] 1978
Original Soundtrack
Epic 0:00
No Image 1979 MCA
Heartbeat 1980 Pazzazz 2:30
No Image 1983 MFP
Words of Love 1985 Universal Special Products
No Image 1986
Various Artists
Vestron / Dick Clark Video
Oh Boy 1987 Universal Special Products 0:00
Rockin' Fifties 1988
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:28
No Image 1988 Charly Records
Golden Greats 1989 MCA 2:33
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1990
Various Artists
MCA
Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 4 1990
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:32
All-Time Greatest Hits of Rock & Roll, Vol. 1 1990
Various Artists
Curb 2:30
Hit Parade Top Rock 'n' roll Hits: 50's and 60's, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
Orfeon 0:00
50's Sock Hop 1991
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:28
The Buddy Holly Collection 1993 MCA 2:29
Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits: 1957-1961 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:31
Only Rock 'N Roll 1955-1959: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:31
Vintage Collectibles, Vol.  7: 1955-1958 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 2:28
Max Weinberg Presents: Let There Be Drums, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 2:30
No Image 1996 Hallmark Recordings
Happy Days Jukebox 1996
Various Artists
Nick At Nite / Sony Music Distribution 2:30
Greatest Hits [MCA] 1996 MCA 2:30
Greatest Rock & Roll Party, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Great Hits 2:31
WODS Oldies 103 Boston, Vol. 1: The 50's - Tenth Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:28
Rock & Roll Gold 1998
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / MCA 2:29
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Keep on Rockin' 1998
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:32
The Best of 50's Rock 1998
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:30
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Buddy Holly 1999 MCA 2:31
40 Hits: 1955-1959 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 2:28
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:30
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:32
Universal Masters Collection: Classic 1999 Polygram / Universal 2:31
No Image 1999 Prism Explorer 2:31
The Very Best of Buddy Holly [Dressed to Kill] 2000 Dressed To Kill 2:31
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 4 & 5 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:32
50's Golden Jukebox: Saturday Night Sock Hop 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:31
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Various Artists 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Forever 22 2001 Recall / Snapper 2:30
Juke Box Jive [Dressed to Kill] 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:30
The Ultimate EP Collection 2001 See For Miles Records 2:32
The Singles + 2001 DJ Specialist 2:31
Rock 'N' Roll Teenagers Collection, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:30
Jukebox Hits of the '50s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:31
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:31
The Legends Collection: Rock 'n' Roll Teenagers 2002
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill / Legends Collection 2:30
The Best of Buddy Holly [Universal] 2002 MCA / Universal International 2:31
Rock & Roll: 50th Anniversary Collection 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:31
Golden Era of Rock 'n' Roll: 1954-1963 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:30
Raining in My Heart [Pazzazz] 2005 Pazzazz 2:30
Shake Rattle & Roll: 50 Classic Rock N Roll Hits 2005
Various Artists
Sanctuary 2:31
Ultimate 16: Rock & Roll 50th Anniversary 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:31
Gold 2005 Geffen 2:28
Top 20 of Rock 'N' Roll 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:31
The Definitive Collection 2006 Geffen / Decca 2:30
Kings of Rock & Roll 2006 Universal International 2:32
20th Century Masters: Best of 50s Rock N Roll, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:31
True Fifties 2006
Various Artists
Universal 2:30
Kings of Rock 'N' Roll 2006 Spectrum Music 2:32
1957 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: July-December 2007
Various Artists
Acrobat Music
Music for Rock 'N' Roll 2007
Various Artists
Universal International 2:30
Not Fade Away: The Complete Studio Recordings and More 2008 Hip-O Select / Geffen 2:33
Rock 'N' Roll Legends 2008 MCA 2:31
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 8: 1957 2008
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:29
Classic Buddy Holly 2008 Spectrum / MCA / Universal 2:30
Rock Around the Clock [Union Square] 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:30
Down the Line: Rarities 2009 Geffen / Decca / Island 2:32
Memorial Collection 2009 Geffen / Island 2:31
50s Jukebox Hits 2009
Various Artists
TIP Records / Dance Street 2:30
The Roots of John Lennon 2009
Various Artists
Red Snapper Records / Snapper 2:29
Summer Holiday: 40 Summer Classics from Yesteryear 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:30
The Legend Lives On 2009 Golden Stars 2:30
The Ultimate Oldies But Goodies Collection 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:31
Icon 2011 Geffen 2:31
Raving On: The Originals 2011 Geffen 2:29
Greatest Hits 2012 10Ten Media
All the Favorites 2012 Play 24-7 2:35
Saturday Night Party: Rock 'n' Roll Party, Vol. 1 2012
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:29
Britain's Greatest Hits 1957 2013
Various Artists
Fabulous 2:30
The Greatest Ever Rock 'N' Roll 2014
Various Artists
Bellevue / Wienerworld 2:34
The Essential Buddy Holly 2014 Delta Leisure Group / Music Digital 2:29
The Complete US & UK Singles As & Bs 1956-1962 2018 Acrobat Music 2:30
300 Hits: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:32
300 Hits: Saturday Night Party
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:29
Absolute Hits of the 50's
Various Artists
Eva
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 9: 1958
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:30
Beatles Beginnings, Vol. 8: The Quarrymen Repertoire
Various Artists
Rhythm & Blues 2:31
Bye Bye Love
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:32
Decade of Hits: The 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic Nostalgia 0:00
It's Only Rock & Soul, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Artemis Records / Zebralution
Keep a Rockin'
Various Artists
Cherished Records
Long Hot Summer
Various Artists
Gold Classic Hits Radio 2:31
Original Hits From the Past, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Nightclub Records / Zebralution 2:31
Original and Greatest Hits From the 50's and 60's
Various Artists
10Ten Media / Zebralution
Peggy Sue New World / Zebralution
Rave On: The Coral Story
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:31
Rave On: The Very Best of the Crickets Spectrum Music
Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:30
Rock 'n' Roll Forever: Best of the 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:33
Rock 'n' Roll Hits [ZYX]
Various Artists
ZYX / ZYX Music 2:28
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 1: 1954-1959
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Rockin' The Diner
Various Artists
Platinum Legends / Universal 2:32
No Image
Various Artists
Nightclub Records / Zebralution 2:31
Soda Fountain Memories
Various Artists
Allegro / Reflections 2:32
Way It Was: Rock Around the Clock the 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:31
No Image BHWM