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"True Love Ways"
Buddy Holly True Love Ways 45 Coral.jpg
Single by Buddy Holly
from the album The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2
B-side"That Makes It Tough"
ReleasedJune 29, 1960 (1960-06-29)
RecordedOctober 21, 1958, Pythian Temple, New York City
Genre Pop
Label Coral 9-62210
Songwriter(s)Buddy Holly, Norman Petty
Buddy Holly singles chronology
" Peggy Sue Got Married"
"True Love Ways"

"True Love Ways" is a song attributed to Norman Petty and Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly's original was recorded with the Dick Jacobs Orchestra in October 1958, four months before the singer's death. It was first released on the posthumous album The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2 (Coral 57326/757326), in March 1960. The song was first released as a single in Britain in May 1960, reaching number 25 on the UK Singles Chart. It was released the following month in the US, but did not make the charts. In 1988, a UK re-release of the recording by MCA, the single reached no. 65 on the UK singles chart in a 5 week chart run. [1] e

In 1965, Peter and Gordon's version became a hit internationally, reaching number 2 in the UK, number 14 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top 10 in numerous other countries. [2] [3]

Other notable covers include Mickey Gilley's 1980 version which reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and Cliff Richard's version that reached the top 10 in the UK and Ireland in 1983 and was a minor hit internationally. [4] [5]

Buddy Holly original

Background and Recording

The song was recorded at Holly's last recording session before his death on February 3, 1959. The session took place at the Pythian Temple on October 21, 1958 and also included the recordings of " It Doesn't Matter Anymore", " Raining in My Heart", and " Moondreams". [6] [7]

In the extended version of the song, in the first ten seconds Holly can be heard preparing to sing. The audio starts with audio saying "Yeah, we're rolling." A piano player and a tenor saxophone player play some notes, and Holly mutters, "Okay," and clears his throat. The producer yells, "Quiet, boys!" to everyone else in the room, and at the end of the talkback, the producer says, "Pitch, Ernie", to signal the piano player to give Holly his starting note, a B-flat.

Holly biographer Bill Griggs points out that the melody borrows heavily from the gospel song "I'll Be All Right," a favorite of Holly's, and one that would be played at his funeral in 1959. According to Griggs, the framework of the melody was written by Buddy, with the remainder, and lyrics, added by Petty. [8]

Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly, claimed that the song was written for her as a wedding gift. On April 29, 2011, Mrs. Holly unveiled the never-before-seen "True Love Ways" photo of their wedding kiss, now displayed at P.J. Clarke's above Table 53, the table where they became engaged while on their first date, on June 20, 1958. [9]

A listing of producer Norman Petty's productions claims that Vi Petty, Norman's wife, recorded the first version of this song on June 4, 1958—two weeks prior to Buddy's engagement with Maria. However, only white label promotional copies were pressed (in July). [10]


  • Al Caiola – guitar
  • Sanford Block – bass
  • Ernie Hayes – piano
  • Doris Johnson – harp
  • Abraham Richman – saxophone
  • Clifford Leeman – drums
  • Sylvan Shulman, Leo Kruczek, Leonard Posner, Irving Spice, Ray Free, Herbert Bourne, Julius Held and Paul Winter – violins
  • David Schwartz, Howard Kay – violas
  • Maurice Brown, Maurice Bialkin – cellos


  • UK: "True Love Ways" b/w " Moondreams" (Coral Q72397, 20 May 1960).
  • USA: "True Love Ways" b/w "That Makes It Tough" (Coral C62210, June 29, 1960). [11]

Two compilation albums by Buddy Holly have used the title of the song. The 1989 Telstar album reached no. 8 on the UK album chart. The 2018 Decca album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra reached no. 10 on the UK album chart. [1]

Chart performance

Chart (1960) Peak
UK Singles ( OCC) [1] 25

Peter and Gordon version

British pop duo, Peter and Gordon, released their version in 1965. It reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and is the only version of the song to have made the Top 40 of the US singles charts, reaching number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1965 during the British Invasion era. [2] [3] Cash Box described it as "a pretty, lyrical emotion-packed reading of the Buddy Holly-penned oldie." [12]

Chart performance

Chart (1965) Peak
Canada Top Singles ( RPM) [13] 3
Ireland ( IRMA) [14] 4
Netherlands ( Single Top 100) [15] 9
Norway ( VG-lista) [16] 10
UK Singles ( OCC) [2] 2
US Billboard Hot 100 [17] 14

Note, Canadian chart weeks following the song's climb up to number 3 on the Canadian chart are missing in the archive, so the song may have climbed higher.

Mickey Gilley version

"True Love Ways"
True Love Ways Mickey Gilley 1980.jpg
Single by Mickey Gilley
from the album That's All That Matters to Me
B-side"That's All That Matters to Me"
ReleasedMarch 28, 1980
Genre Country
Label Epic
Songwriter(s)Buddy Holly, Norman Petty
Producer(s) Jim Ed Norman
Mickey Gilley singles chronology
"A Little Gettin' Used To"
"True Love Ways"
" Stand by Me"

Mickey Gilley, country singer, released a successful cover version in 1980 (during the height of his popularity). Gilley's version reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in July 1980. [4]

Chart performance

Chart (1980) Peak
US Hot Country Songs ( Billboard) [18] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 [19] 66
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1980) Position
US Country Songs ( Billboard) [20] 7

Cliff Richard version

"True Love Ways"
Cliff Richard True Love Ways single cover.jpg
Single by Cliff Richard with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
from the album Dressed for the Occasion
Released8 April 1983 (1983-04-08) [21]
Recorded23 November 1982 (1982-11-23)
Venue Royal Albert Hall
Genre Pop
Label EMI
Songwriter(s) Buddy Holly
Producer(s)Cliff Richard, Richard Hewson
Cliff Richard with the London Philharmonic Orchestra singles chronology
" She Means Nothing to Me"
"True Love Ways"
" Never Say Die (Give a Little Bit More)"

British pop singer Cliff Richard released his cover as the lead single from his Dressed for the Occasion album in April 1983. The recording is of a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1982 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Richard's version reached No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart and was a hit in several other countries. [5] [22]

Chart performance

Chart (1983) Peak
Australia ( Kent Music Report) [23] 35
Belgium ( Ultratop 50 Flanders) [24] 24
Ireland ( IRMA) [25] 4
Netherlands ( Single Top 100) [26] 41
New Zealand ( Recorded Music NZ) [27] 45
UK Singles ( OCC) [5] 8

Other notable versions

  • Vi Petty, wife of co-writer Norman Petty, and pianist on many Petty productions, is believed to have recorded the first version in June, 1958, with, initially, only limited promotional pressings made. [10] [8]
  • Dick Rivers, a French singer, recorded a French adaptation, "Ne pleure pas" (1965). It reached number 19 in Belgium's Wallonia (French) charts and 43 in France. [28] [29]
  • David Essex and Catherine Zeta-Jones recorded a duet for Essex's 1994 album Back to Back. The single reached no. 38 on the UK singles chart. [30]
  • Ricky Nelson recorded the song in 1985, five days before his death in a plane crash. It was his last recording before his death, although the recording remains unreleased. However, an earlier recording from 1978 is widely available. [31] [32]

Popular culture

  • The Never Say No to Panda series of commercials for the product Panda Cheese, from the Egyptian company Arab Dairy, uses the Buddy Holly & The Picks version of the song as the theme tune of its unpredictable and destructive panda mascot. The commercials featuring the song became an instant hit on the internet and become an internet meme. [33]


  1. ^ a b c "Buddy Holly: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  2. ^ a b c "Peter and Gordon: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  3. ^ a b "The Hot 100 - The week of June 5, 1965". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  4. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 551.
  5. ^ a b c "Cliff Richard: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  6. ^ "Buddy Holly Story". 16 August 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  7. ^ "The Pythian Temple Sessions". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b "MusicDish e-Journal - Up Close With Bill Griggs: The Number One Historian of Buddy Holly and The Crickets". Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  9. ^ "True Love Ways Unveiled – Buddy Holly's Great Music, Great Romance » Listen to Me". True Great Original. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  10. ^ a b "NORMAN PETTY STUDIOS Productions - Discography (O-P)". Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  11. ^ . True Love Ways. Buddy Holly.
  12. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. April 10, 1965. p. 18. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  13. ^ " Top RPM Singles: Issue 5699." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ " The Irish Charts – Search Results – True Love Ways". Irish Singles Chart.
  15. ^ " Peter & Gordon – True Love Ways" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ " Peter & Gordon – True Love Ways". VG-lista.
  17. ^ "Peter & Gordon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Best of 1980: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1980.
  21. ^ "The Cliff Richard Song Database website: Discography - Singles". Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  22. ^ Lewry, Peter; Nigel, Goodall (2004). Dressed for the Occasion (CD Digital Remaster) (Liner notes). Cliff Richard. EMI.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN  0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ " Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  25. ^ "Ireland singles charts". Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  26. ^ " Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  27. ^ " Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  28. ^ "Dick Rivers - Ne Pleure Pas (True Love Ways)". Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  29. ^ Select artist 'Dick RIVERS', sorted by surname. "Direct Access to Artists - R". InfoDisc. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart - True Love Ways". OfficialCharts. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  31. ^ Roberts, Jeremy (1 January 2022). "True love ways: A glimpse inside the tangled web of Rick Nelson's final album". Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  32. ^ Roberts, Jeremy (1 January 2022). "As long as we had him: Rick Nelson's inner circle expose his unreleased last record". Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  33. ^ Metcalfe, John (2010-09-23). "Creepy Egyptian Cheese Ads Explain Geopolitics - The Wire". Retrieved 2014-03-22.