The world has had its fair share of awful tribute albums added to the repertoire over the past few decades. Anyone remember The Beatle Barkers’ musical slap in the face Tails From the Pound – The Lost Tapes? Or how about the memorable Indie Translations of Usher? Yeah, I thought so…
Well fear not, world! Finally we’ve been graced with a tribute album that’s actually worth your while! That’s right. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you Rave On Buddy Holly, a tribute to one of rock & roll’s greatest pioneers this world has ever seen.
With artists like Florence and the Machine, My Morning Jacket, She & Him, and The Black Keys, amongst others, Rave On Buddy Holly pays tribute to the late Holly with timeless lyrics and iconic melodies brought together in the upbeat, modern sound of the 21st Century.
There are so many great tracks on the album, but a few artists on the album went above and beyond to create a unique take on Holly’s classics.
Paul McCartney | It’s So Easy
No doubt Buddy Holly was one of the primary influences for The Beatles in their early years both lyrically and instrumentally. Paul has said many times before that he would sit around trying to emulate the catchy riffs and controversial lyrics of the rock & roller himself back in the beginning days of The Quarrymen. Oddly enough, Paul could not have been further from the 1950s vibe when covering Holly hit “It’s So Easy” on the tribute album. Instead, McCartney chose to growl the entire song behind guttural guitar riffs. If that isn’t enough for you, there are some hidden surprises at the end of the song from the “Macca” that leave you scratching your head thinking, “What the hell did I just listen to?” It’s that good.
Karen Elson | Crying, Waiting, Hoping
Nashville local Karen Elson (though recently divorced from music mogul Jack White) still claims her stake in the Nashville music scene by doing things like covering Holly’s “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” with smooth, soft vocals over a giddy, Southern instrumental sound. She keeps the sweet 1950s style and adds in a little bit of Nashville with a fiddle accompanying her sultry voice. Her track is definitely a highlight of the album.
Cee Lo Green | (You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care
Though it was really hard to just pick three favorites, I think the last spot has to go to Cee Lo Green covering one of Holly’s more obscure tunes, “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care.” Who would have thought Cee Lo could whip out the Buddy Holly signature “hiccup” and perform a cover so beautifully behind a steel drum, of all instruments? It’s simple, upbeat, a little tropical, and completely unlike anything Cee Lo has ever done before. It’s a surprise hit. Bravo, Cee Lo, bravo.
Other close favorites that didn’t make the list above include Julian Casablancas’ take on “Rave On,” recent Nashvillians The Black Keys covering “Dearest,” and She & Him doing the popular hit “Oh Boy!”
Oh what the hell, they’re ALL my favorites.
Overall, Rave On Buddy Holly is one of the best tribute albums I’ve heard to date and is a perfect way to ring in what would have been Holly’s 75th birthday. There could not have been better artists chosen to perform on the compilation, and the music does Holly justice to the highest degree. It’s innovative, catchy, and gets the tribute album stamp of approval. This is definitely an album for the record books.