Because we have posting right now what are probably DDD's 2 leading authorities on '50s rock, Sampson and Bruce, and the all-time list came up, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts on a couple '50s artists, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. The Everlys are higher on this list and Holly is higher on the all-time list, but if the Everlys are the greater '50s artist, they have to be the greater all-time artist, because there's no question that the Everlys are the greater '60s artist.
The way I saw the matchup for the all-time list was that they're about equal in cultural impact, the Everlys win popularity, and Buddy Holly wins musical impact and influence, with none of the margins huge, and musical impact close. So it looked to me like a narrow win for Holly. Sampson and Bruce, what are your thoughts on this comparison?
A - I don't buy the whole "four equal parts" theory. Even if I did buy the four parts of the criteria (popularity, cultural impact, influence, musical impact), why would they all coveniently be of equal importance?
I think you have some things wrong though. I would say that Holly wins cultural impact by a ton, with all the songs that have been written about him in the past 50 years, the movie about him, the Holly look with the glasses, etc...but I think the Everlys would beat him in "musical impact" at the time. Their sound was far more imitated than Holly's sound in the 50s. As you may or may not know, two of Holly's most well known songs (Rave On, Oh Boy) were done first by another artist, Sonny West. Lots of Holly's other songs that became well known later on were actually stiffs in the 50s. "Words Of Love" did not even make the charts, and neither did "I'm Gonna Love You Too.: and although it's from 1960, "True Love Ways" was also a stiff at the time. "
I have no idea how Sampson does this, but here's how I would score each category (0 to 10) for both artists for the 1950s:
ARTIST......COMM SUCCESS......CULTURAL.....INFLUENCE......MUS IMPACT
If you buy that each category is equal than this would end in a 25-25 tie, but since I believe that commercial success is much more important than cultural impact, I would give this one to the Everlys. In my estimation commercial success would be like 40% with cultural impact no more than 10%.
My girlfriend Diane was born in 1948. When Holly died she was about to turn 11 years old in a few days. She had no idea who Holly was, but knew who Valens was because "Donna" was a huge hit at the time. Holly was just not that well known in the 50s, as three of his four really big hits up to his death were by the Crickets. Only "Peggy Sue" was a big hit by Buddy Holly. Some other kids told Diane that Holly was the guy who did that song "Peggy Sue" a couple of years ago and she then remembered him, but most people at that time did not even realize that Holly was part of the Crickets. She also realized who the Big Bopper was after being reminded that "Chantilly Lace" was a huge hit just a couple of months before the plane crash, and I think may have even still been on the Billboard top 100 that week at the end of its chart run.
The point is that the name "Buddy Holly" did not mean all that much in the 1950s until he died. He did not release a single in 1958 that made the top ten and none of his solo singles even made the top 30 after "Peggy Sue" until "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" did so after his death. Good chance that one would have bombed if he had not died.
The Everlys were monstrous in 1958.