Album: Buddy Holly, Not Fade Away: The Complete Studio Recordings And More (Geffen/Hip-O Select)

It's appropriate that this definitive six-CD compilation of Buddy Holly's output is packaged in imitation of a High School Yearbook, since Buddy was, at the time of his death in 1959, The Boy Most Likely to Change the Face of Music.

By then, Elvis was being emasculated by the army, and only Buddy and his equally gifted, equally tragic friend Eddie Cochran appeared to have the musical wherewithal to develop the innovations of black rock'n'roll pioneers into a more mainstream pop that didn't sell out its influences. In the event, the world had to wait for The Beatles to successfully effect that transformation. Holly found his compositional feet with "That'll Be The Day" – initially rejected by Decca before becoming a huge hit for their subsidiary label Brunswick – and his signature hiccuping vocal style on the epochal "Peggy Sue". He quickly became a prolific songwriter for himself and other artists – double-tracking his own harmonies on to "Love's Made A Fool Of You" to show the Everly Brothers how they might approach it – and a sonic innovator, having Jerry Allison use cardboard-box drums and knee-slaps to get the required percussion effects behind his own tight, intimate guitar licks. He was only active for three years, but his legacy lingered long into the '60s.

Download this That'll Be The Day; Peggy Sue; Not Fade Away; Oh Boy; Rave On