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20 Golden Greats

Greatest Hits

* Compilation *

Recorded: 1955-59 GH,
1955-63 GG *

Charted: August 5, 1978 GG

Released: Sept. 24, 1996 GH

GGGolden Greats GH Greatest Hits

* See Notes.

Rating: 4.250 (average of 2 ratings for ‘Golden Greats’)

Genre: early rock and roll

Quotable: --

Album Tracks: GG *

  1. That’ll Be the Day GH
  2. Peggy Sue GH
  3. Words of Love GH
  4. Everyday GH
  5. Not Fade Away GH
  6. Oh, Boy! GH
  7. Maybe Baby GH
  8. Listen to Me
  9. Heartbeat GH
  10. Think It Over GH
  11. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore GH
  12. It’s So Easy GH
  13. Well…All Right
  14. Rave On GH
  15. Raining in My Heart GH
  16. True Love Ways GH
  17. Peggy Sue Got Married
  18. Bo Diddley
  19. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  20. Wishing
* Track listing is for 20 Golden Greats. Songs marked with GH also appear on Greatest Hits.

Sales (in millions): GG

sales in U.S. only 0.5
sales in U.K. only - estimated 0.3
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.8


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 55 GG
peak on U.K. album chart 1 3 GG, 9 GH

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • That’ll Be the Day (5/27/57) #1 US, #1 UK, #2 RB, sales: 0.5 m
  • Words of Love (6/20/57) --
  • Peggy Sue (9/20/57) #3 US, #6 UK, #2 RB
  • Oh Boy! (10/27/57) #10 US, #3 UK, #13 RB
  • Listen to Me (2/5/58) #16 UK
  • Maybe Baby (2/15/58) #18 US, #4 UK, #4 RB
  • Rave On (4/20/58) #37 US, #5 UK
  • Think It Over (5/27/58) #27 US, #11 UK
  • Fool’s Paradise GH (5/27/58) #58 US
  • Early in the Morning GH (8/4/58) #32 US, #17 UK
  • It’s So Easy (9/12/58) –
  • Heartbeat (11/5/58) #82 US, #30 UK
  • It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (1/5/59) #13 US, #1 UK
  • Raining in My Heart (1/5/59) #88 US
  • Peggy Sue Got Married (9/11/59) #13 UK
  • True Love Ways (5/26/60) #25 UK
  • Wishing (9/5/63) #10 UK
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man (3/14/63) #3 UK
  • Bo Diddley (6/6/63) #4 UK
GH on Greatest Hits only, not on 20 Golden Greats.

Notes: 20 Golden Greats is listed as covering 1955-1963, reflecting the singles that were released in this time span. Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash on 2/3/59 and the vaults were plundered for countless posthumous releases.

The 1996 Greatest Hits collection featured the songs in the track listing marked with GH as well as “I’m Looking for Someone to Love,” “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” “Fool’s Paradise,” and “Early in the Morning.”


‘Greatest Hits’ is one of Blender’s 100 Greatest American Albums

20 Golden Greats
Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Holly’s death on February 3, 1959 – ‘the day the music died,’ sang Don McLean – robbed ‘50s rock of its most promising white songwriter. His records didn’t match the excitement of his live shows, but they compensated with simplicity and a sophistication that remains a songwriting benchmark.” BL

Picking out a definitive overview of his work can be a daunting task, considering the sheer number of compilations devoted to Buddy Holly & The Crickets. The two collections highlighted here share fourteen common songs: That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Words of Love, Everyday, Not Fade Away, Oh Boy, Maybe Baby, Heartbeat, Think It Over, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (penned by Paul Anka), It’s So Easy, Rave On, and the “lushly orchestrated stunners…Raining in My Heart [and] True Love Ways.” SC

As for the differences, “while not flush with the digital sheen of recent CD packages, [20 Golden Greats] will please vinyl fans in search of the bespeckled one's late-‘50s hits.” SC Amongst the “perennials…the album also features fine covers of Brown Eyed Handsome Man and Bo Diddley,” SC which were both top 5 hits in the U.K. Also unique to this collection are a handful of other U.K.-only hits, including Listen to Me, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Wishing. The non-charting Well…All Right is also a nice addition.

The 1996 Greatest Hits collection bumped those songs in favor of a couple minor singes – Fool’s Paradise and Early in the Morning – as well as the non-charting I’m Looking for Someone to Love and I’m Gonna Love You Too. While the latter is somewhat of a Holly staple, the others are less necessary, making this collection the lesser of the two highlighted here.

Either way, “one hears hefty premonitions of the Beatles’ pre-1965 sound, one of the first self-contained rock bands in fine form, and some of most lyrical and substantial songs from the music’s golden beginnings. Holly's sound was more country than R&B, and as such also prefigured the folk-pop of both the British Invasion and the West Coast sound of the ‘60s.” SC

Review Source(s):

Last updated February 18, 2010.