True Love Ways

"True Love Ways" is a song attributed to Norman Petty and Buddy Holly, and 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 a hit in Britain in 1960, reaching number 25 on the pop singles chart.[1] In an 1988 re-release of the recording by MCA, the single reached no. 65 on the UK singles chart in a 5 week chart run.

"True Love Ways"
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
LabelCoral 9-62210
Songwriter(s)Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly singles chronology
"Peggy Sue Got Married"
"True Love Ways"

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.

Along with "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" and "Raining in My Heart", this 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.[2] The musicians were 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 and Howard Kay (violas); and Maurice Brown and Maurice Bialkin (cellos).

Although Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly, claims that the song was written for her as a wedding gift, 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 first meeting with Maria.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Two 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 RPO reached no. 10 on the UK album chart.

The song was used in a series of 2010 Egyptian commercials for Panda Cheese. They're best known as Never Say No to Panda.

Single releases

  • USA: "True Love Ways" b/w "That Makes It Tough" (Coral C62210, June 29, 1960).[6]
  • UK: "True Love Ways" b/w "Moondreams" (Coral Q72397, 20 May 1960).

Mickey Gilley version

"True Love Ways"
Single by Mickey Gilley
from the album That's All That Matters to Me
B-side"That's All That Matters to Me"
Songwriter(s)Buddy Holly
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.[7]

Chart performance

Chart (1980) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 66
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

Cliff Richard version

"True Love Ways"
Single by Cliff Richard with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
from the album Dressed for the Occasion
Released8 April 1983 (1983-04-08)[10]
Format7 inch
Recorded23 November 1982 (1982-11-23)
VenueRoyal Albert Hall
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.[11]

Chart performance

Chart (1983) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 8
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 35
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 24
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 41
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 45

Other notable versions


  1. "Buddy Holly Singles in the UK". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  2. The Pythian Temple Sessions. Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "NORMAN PETTY STUDIOS Productions - Discography (O-P)". Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  4. "MusicDish e-Journal - Up Close With Bill Griggs: The Number One Historian of Buddy Holly and The Crickets". Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  5. "True Love Ways Unveiled – Buddy Holly's Great Music, Great Romance » Listen to Me". True Great Original. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  6. .True Love Ways. Buddy Holly.
  7. Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 551.
  8. "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. "Mickey Gilley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. "The Cliff Richard Song Database website: Discography - Singles". Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  11. Lewry, Peter; Nigel, Goodall (2004). Dressed for the Occasion (CD Digital Remaster) (Liner notes). Cliff Richard. EMI.
  12. "Cliff Richard: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  13. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. " – Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  15. "Ireland singles charts". Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  16. " – Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  17. " – Cliff Richard with The London Philharmonic Orchestra – True Love Ways". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  18. "Original versions of True Love Ways by Jackson Browne". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  19. "Cover version of True Love Ways by Peter and Gordon". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  20. Metcalfe, John (2010-09-23). "Creepy Egyptian Cheese Ads Explain Geopolitics - The Wire". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
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