Buddy Holly co-wrote and recorded “Not Fade Away” with his band the Crickets in 1957, and seven years later, The Rolling Stones released their own cover version. On this day in 1964, The Rolling Stones’ rendition was released as a single in the U.K., which became one of the band’s first hits (it peaked at number three on the U.K. Singles Chart). It was released as their debut U.S. single the following month, and it was backed by the b-side “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
The Stones’ version of the track was just under two minutes, featuring a stomping blues sound, accompanied by Brian Jones’ pleading harmonica, Mick Jagger’s cocksure lead vocals, Keith Richards’ plucky guitar solo and some playful maracas. While Holly’s version was a sweet, bubblegum rock and roll tune sprinkled with backing vocal “bops”, The Rolling Stones put their own rootsy blues spin on it, and it eventually became one of their first beloved recordings. The song often served as the opener for many of their early shows, and they brought it back into their regular setlist rotation on their Voodoo Lounge Tour in the mid ’90s.
Click here to listen to some of the Stones’ best Exile on Main Street live recordings from the Paste Vault.
Listen to The Rolling Stones perform “Not Fade Away” in 1994 below.