The Songstress Leads an All-Star Cast for a New Buddy Holly Tribute Album
Outfitted in Day of the Dead regalia, Florence Welch conjures a soulful rendition of Buddy Holly's 1957 hit in new music video “Not Fade Away.” Produced by Louisiana native C.C. Adcock and recorded in New Orleans last year in the midst of Florence and the Machine's North American tour, the cover is part of a forthcoming 19-track tribute album, Rave On Buddy Holly, which commemorates the late musician’s 75th birthday. "When I was 10 my grandmother took me to see the Buddy Holly musical and I've had a crush on him ever since. And now my boyfriend looks slightly like him!" Welch laughs. The compilation's producers, Randall Poster and Gelya Robb, enlisted the likes of Patti Smith, Julian Casablancas, Paul McCartney and Karen Elson (with Jack White) in testament to Holly’s immeasurable influence. "He elevated the ordinary to poetry,” says Poster, renowned music supervisor for films by Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes. "A lot of artists have found inspiration and identified with Buddy Holly, because they feel like he's everyman, not a superman. He gave John Lennon the confidence to wear glasses." NOWNESS asked Poster to annotate standout tracks from the album, available on June 28.
Florence and the Machine, "Not Fade Away"
Florence was an artist that we wanted to have on the record from the beginning. By virtue of where she was, the track has this New Orleans arrangement: it breathes a Cajun influence. The song bears a geographic imprint.
Paul McCartney, "It's So Easy”
McCartney's probably been playing this song for 50 years. Not only is he paying tribute to Buddy Holly, he's also paying tribute to his own musical past. It's wonderful to hear how much fun he's having. It kind of speaks to what rock and roll is: it's there to help you capture your youthful spirit.
Karen Elson, "Crying, Waiting, Hoping"
We pursued Karen on the verge of stalking her, basically, to get her to do a track.
Jenny O., "I'm Gonna Love You Too"
A sweet story. We've had our eye on her. She's about 21 years old. She just went out on her own, without asking, cut the track and sent it to us, and it fit in so perfectly. There's something so spirited about it. That we were able to include it was a real treat; to present a relatively unknown artist, who is still younger than Buddy Holly was when he died.
My Morning Jacket, "True Love Ways"
Jim James [the band’s frontman] was the first artist who recorded for us. I worked with him on the Todd Haynes's Bob Dylan movie, I'm Not There, for which he sang and also appeared. In my mind, I heard him singing “True Love Ways.” So I brought him the song. Jim James is an angel on earth, and it's just the most heartbreaking and beautiful song you've ever heard.
Patti Smith, "Word of Love"
Patti was thinking about Buddy's marriage to Marie Elena [Santiago], who was from Puerto Rico, and brought this Spanish language spirit into the song, which is just beautiful. This was also really a band collaboration: Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan, who are in Patti's band, are huge Buddy Holly fans: they were channeling his relationship with the Crickets and the guys he grew up with playing this music.
Kid Rock, "Well Alright"
We worked on this with the producer Matt Sweeney, who also produced the Black Keys and the Julian Casablancas tracks. He made the suggestion to have Kid Rock, and we weren't really sure about how that was going to sound. He was really open to trying something different. So we got this really tight and spare soul track. I think it’s one of the great Kid Rock tracks of all time.
Lou Reed, "Peggy Sue"
Lou couldn't understand why everyone didn't want to do "Peggy Sue." That was his take on it. Lou was like, “I mean it's the best song! Peggy Sue! Peggy Sue made an impression on me.”
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