20 Golden Greats: Buddy Holly Lives

Buddy HollyJanuary 1, 1974
Pop℗ A Geffen Records release; This Compilation ℗ 1974 UMG Recordings, Inc.
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20 Golden Greats is a greatest hits album by American Buddy Holly & the Crickets first released in the United Kingdom by EMI on February 17, 1978. The songs on the UK release were licensed to EMI by MCA Records, who released the album in North America. The album is now out of print.
The album became an instant success in the UK, being certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry two months after the album's release and topping the UK Albums Chart for three weeks. It was also Buddy Holly's first number 1 album on the chart. The album was somewhat less successful in the United States peaking at number 55 on the Billboard 200, but ended up crossing over to the Country Albums chart, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1983. In 2012, it was ranked number 92 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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That'll Be The Day2:16The Crickets
Peggy Sue2:30Buddy Holly
Words Of Love1:55Buddy Holly
Everyday2:07Buddy Holly
Not Fade Away2:21The Crickets
Oh Boy!2:08The Crickets
Maybe Baby2:02The Crickets
Listen To Me2:21Buddy Holly
Heartbeat2:09Buddy Holly
Think It Over1:46The Crickets
It Doesn't Matter Anymore2:04Buddy Holly
It's So Easy2:10The Crickets
Well...All Right2:14Buddy Holly
Rave On1:49Buddy Holly
Raining In My Heart2:47Buddy Holly
True Love Ways3:01Buddy Holly
Peggy Sue Got Married2:04Buddy Holly
Bo Diddley2:19Buddy Holly
Brown Eyed Handsome Man2:04Buddy Holly
Wishing2:01Buddy Holly

Additional Information

Total length
January 1, 1978
℗ A Geffen Records release; This Compilation ℗ 1974 UMG Recordings, Inc.
File type
Access type
Streaming and by permanent download to your computer and/or device
Internet connection
Required for streaming and downloading
Playback information
Via Google Play Music app on Android v4+, iOS v7+, or by exporting MP3 files to your computer and playing on any MP3 compatible music player
This disc is an interesting pairing, combining the contents of two LPs from opposite ends of the efforts to tap into Buddy Holly's catalog. That'll Be the Day, released in April of 1958, was Decca Records' first attempt to give a boost to the available Buddy Holly material, assembling 11 of the songs that he'd cut for the label during his four unsuccessful Nashville sessions of 1956 into an LP, issued one month after the Buddy Holly album was issued; Remember, released in 1971, was the last posthumous compilation of Holly's work assembled by British MCA, gathering together the last of his officially released singles, B-sides, and more. Curiously, it is the first 11 songs here, from That'll Be the Day -- which is usually dismissed by critics as not sufficiently representative of Holly's real sound -- that make this CD an important release, very close to essential listening. Those tracks, though a fair distance from the music that made Holly famous, are good, solid, occasionally inspired rock & roll, with a decided rockabilly and country flavor; they're as instructive about how the producers at the major labels -- in this case, Owen Bradley and his assistants at Decca's Nashville studio -- and young artists like Holly, without a lot of studio time under his belt, were finding their way around rock & roll recording. Those 11 sides, which never sounded better than they do here, make this CD a must-own release for anyone with more than the most casual interest in Holly's work or in early rock & roll; if the alternate take of "Rock Around With Ollie Vee" were here, the CD would be perfect as a document of its subject and period. The later songs, from Remember, are better crafted and more sophisticated, as well as encompassing some of Holly's best songs, including "Learning the Game" and "Peggy Sue Got Married," but those are all available elsewhere, and as the context of their inclusion on Remembering was mere happenstance, they're nothing more than handy bonus tracks here -- rather more impressive among those later cuts is "Real Wild Child," a frantically paced rockabilly number credited to Ivan and sung by Crickets drummer Jerry Allison, featuring Holly on guitar and backing vocals. The annotation is surprisingly sketchy concerning That'll Be the Day, concentrating far more on Holly's life story, and the original notes from Remember tell listeners more about that album's contents than do the new notes for the CD.
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