Peter & Gordon

True Love Ways

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In Touch With... 1964 Columbia 2:40
Greatest Hits [CEMA Special Markets] 1966 EMI-Capitol Special Markets / CEMA Special Markets 2:40
The Best of Peter & Gordon [Capitol] 1968 Capitol
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 3 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
British Invasion: The History of British Rock 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
The Best of Peter & Gordon [Rhino] 1991 Rhino 2:40
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Rhino
All Time Greatest Hits of Peter & Gordon 1992 Cema
EP Collection 1995 See For Miles Records 2:38
Original Hits 1995 Disky 2:37
I Go to Pieces/True Love Ways 1998 Collectables 2:40
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Disky
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Disky 2:37
Favourite Sixties 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:38
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:38
The Ultimate Peter & Gordon 2001 Collectors' Choice Music 2:38
Ultimate Collection 2002 EMI Music Distribution 2:39
Greatest Hits [Collectables] 2003 Collectables 2:40
The Definitive Collection: Knights in Rusty Armour 2003 Collectables 2:40
Almost There! CD2: A Collection Of The Greatest Original No. 2 Hits 2003
Various Artists
Disky 2:37
Almost There! A Collection of the Greatest Original Number 2 Hits [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Disky 2:39
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
Disky 2:38
Top Of The Pops 1965 2007
Various Artists
BBC Music / EMI 2:39
Pure: 60s [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:38
This Is 1965 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 2:38
Original Hits: Love 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:38
Original Hits: 60s Pop 2010
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:38
Massive Hits! Sixties 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold 2:38