If Buddy Holly fans used to hearing songs like "Peggy Sue" and "Rave On" had heard what he was recording at the Pythian Temple in New York on October 21, 1958, they would have been very surprised. When Holly's producer, Norman Petty, suggested he do a session with strings, he had rejected the idea, and he had also resisted record company pressure to take a softer pop approach to his music. That is, he held off until he found a way to do such things on his own terms. As it turned out, those terms meant recording without his backup band, the Crickets, and without Petty; the session was produced by arranger Dick Jacobs. It also meant recording material he had written or felt comfortable with. "True Love Ways," one of his most beautiful compositions (it is co-credited to Petty), has a melody inspired by the old spiritual "I'll Be All Right," and some of that feeling of religious calm gets into Holly's description of a steady, long-term relationship. In his singing, Holly provides a stirring and confident, if delicately phrased, evocation of domestic bliss, and Jacobs' string chart supports him without upstaging him, its impact restrained by a tenor saxophone line. "True Love Ways" was clearly the best-written and performed song at the session, but Coral Records opted to release Paul Anka's composition "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" as Holly's next single instead. Meanwhile, the singer/songwriter took off for a short winter tour -- and never came back. "True Love Ways" was not released until March 1960, when it appeared on the album The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2, with a single version issued three months later, after it had come out as a single in the U.K. and reached the Top 25; in America, neither the album nor the single charted. Five years later, Peter & Gordon revived the song, taking it just short of the top of the British charts; then it became the duo's fifth consecutive U.S. Top 20 hit. Over the years, there were occasional covers of "True Love Ways," but it got its next significant hearing in the fictionalized film biography The Buddy Holly Story in the summer of 1978, sung by Gary Busey, and on the charting soundtrack album. Perhaps due to that exposure, country singer Randy Gurley cut a version that got into the country charts that September, but it took another two years for "True Love Ways" to become a really big country hit, when Mickey Gilley cut it for a country number one in July 1980; this version also crossed over to the pop charts. Perhaps because it still seems uncharacteristic of Buddy Holly, "True Love Ways" is not always associated with him, but it is one of the loveliest songs he ever wrote.