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Decca Debut: Buddy Holly’s Two Tone Recording Bow

On January 26, 1956, Buddy made his first ever recordings, credited to Buddy and the Two Tones.

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Buddy Holly - Photo: Courtesy of Michael Ochs Archives/Handout
Buddy Holly - Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Handout

On January 26, 1956, Buddy and the Two Tones made their first ever recordings. Buddy and the who, you might be saying? We didn’t know it then, but this was the studio debut of the future legend that was Buddy Holly.

Even if it proved to be a false dawn, Charles “Buddy” Holley (yes, with the extra “e”) and his friends had an exciting start to 1956. After playing gigs the previous year, including one opening for the emerging Elvis Presley in Buddy’s home town of Lubbock, Texas before the bespectacled hopeful had even graduated from high school, Buddy landed a one-year record deal with Decca. Almost simultaneously, he also won a three-year publishing contract with Cedarwood.

Holley becomes Holly

So it was that at the end of January that year, Buddy and the Two Tones, also featuring Sonny Curtis and Don Guess, went into producer Owen Bradley’s Barn in Nashville to record their first tracks under the new Decca deal. The numbers they cut included “Midnight Shift” and “Don’t Come Back Knockin’.” When Buddy’s contract arrived, his surname was misspelled without the “e,” but he decided to go with it, and he was Buddy Holly from that day on.

The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then

Live shows followed that year, as did two more Decca sessions, in July (where they recorded the first version of “That’ll Be The Day,” among others) and November. But early in 1957 came the bombshell that Decca were not renewing their option, and that Buddy would be dropped at the end of the one-year term.

Determined to make a go of his obvious talent, Holly went to record at Norman Petty’s studios in Clovis, New Mexico, where they cut what became the hit version of “That’ll Be The Day.” After some legal issues were resolved, and a name change to the Crickets was decided on, Decca subsidiary Coral bought Holly’s new masters, and he was all set to record and release the songs that would place him, and the Crickets, in rock’n’roll legend.

Listen to the best of Buddy Holly on Apple Music and Spotify.




  1. Poch Makalintal

    January 30, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Buddy Holly was in great demand for the songs he recorded and sang in the mid 50’s to the early 60’s.

  2. Jean-Marc

    January 27, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Hi Poch,
    in the 50’s when the real music started, Buddy Holly was one of the greatest artist .
    But on Feb. 59 the worst happenned and that’s when the music died…..

  3. Brian Scullion

    January 29, 2017 at 9:05 am

    1958 was the year that rock’n’roll came of age and became the soundtrack for this young teenager.
    The music was vibrant and new and many of the older orders of musical values were swept away.. Buddy played a major part in that year, but by February 1959 he was dead, and the music died with him. Yes, there was new music, still entertaining, but without the excitement of 1958. It was almost as though the music echoed the loss of that great musician.
    Thank you, Buddy , for adding so many songs which i have never forgotten, and never wiil

    • Ray Mota

      February 8, 2019 at 5:31 am

      Were you a Teenager in the 50’s? I was. I clearly recall none of what you have stated.

  4. Ray Mota

    February 8, 2019 at 5:27 am

    BULLSHIT. I do not know how much research went into that title but it is 100 % PURE BULLSHIT. Buddy’s wire recordings from the 40’s are on the inter net. He evidently cut several/many tracks on 78 rpm vinyl before the “Two Tones” IN FACT, In all the research I have read re Buddy I have never, to the best of my recollection ever heard that term. Only to say it was not much of a thing.

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The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets
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