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That'll be the day


Buddy Holly-That'll Be the Day


Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, you give me all your lovin' and your turtle dovin'
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby
Until you tell me, maybe
That some day, well I'll be through

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

[Instrumental Interlude]

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, when Cupid shot his dart
He shot it at your heart
So if we ever part and I leave you
You sit and hold me and you tell me boldly
That some day, well I'll be blue

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, that'll be the day, hoo-hoo
That'll be the day, hoo-hoo
That'll be the day, hoo-hoo
That'll be the day



The story behind the song from SongFacts:

Holly had been kicking around his home town in Lubbock, Texas trying to write a hit song for his small Rockabilly band since he had attended an Elvis Presley gig at his High School some time in 1955. His band in those days consisted of him on lead vocals and guitar, Jerry Allison on the drums and Joe B. Maudlin on upright bass. He and Jerry decided to get together and go see The Searchers a Western movie staring John Wayne. In the movie, Wayne keeps replying "That'll be the day" every time another character in the film predicts or proclaims something will happen when he felt it was not likely to happen. The phrase stuck in Jerry's mind, and when they were hanging out at Jerry's house one night, Buddy looked at Jerry and said that it sure would be nice if they could record a hit song. Jerry replied with, "That'll be the day," mocking in the western.

Holly and his band The Three Tunes recorded this in Nashville in 1956, but Decca records didn't like the result and refused to release it. A year later, Holly re-recorded it with The Crickets in a studio in Clovis, New Mexico owned by his new producer, Norman Petty. Backup vocalists were brought in and the key was lowered to fit Holly's voice a little better. This version became a huge hit and made Holly a star that summer.

This was the first song John Lennon learned to play on guitar. American Rock stars like Holly and Little Richard were a big influence on The Beatles.

So, what does "that'll be the day" mean and how is that meaning applied in Holly's song? He's saying to his lover that she'll never leave him. He adds that the day you leave me will be the day that I die, which reminds me of, "till death us do part". Someone else says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." However, the context of the words in Holly's song is romantic love. There's no marriage mentioned. It's just a love affair. The fact that his partner is threatening or predicting a break up does not bode well or reflect positively on the depth of the relationship.

To the outside observer, it would seem that the man's lover is telling him there are problems that will necessitate her leaving. Rather than reason together on the issues that are being raised by her, his response is instead, "you'll never leave me, we're in love". As is the irony in so many catchy songs and great poetry through the ages, the slice of life depicted in this song is not about the rush of romantic love, but the denial one can fall into after having started off in love. Love feels good and love is part of life to be celebrated. But as sure as love is, so are problems. Everyone has problems. Every relationship runs into problems, challenges, and conflict. Many people would rather not face these and instead say, "stop and look back", instead of listening to what their partner is trying to say.

I think that another meaning this song could have is that we fall into a cynical sarcasm in our relationships and we lose faith in the best in others. We also get this way with God. We begin to believe in our experience more than God's word. Rather than staying soft and vulnerable, we get hardened and bitter from disappointments. We get into a mode where our imagination fails us and we no longer believe. In the absence of God, we begin sitting on our imaginary throne and decide that our future is set, going no higher than the past which we glorify because it's all we have. Memories are now distorted and idolized.

This ought not be and it doesn't have to! So what? Repent.

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