When was it recorded? Jul. 16, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 30, 1994 on “Live at the BBC”
Who wrote it? Buddy Holly
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
“Crying, Waiting, Hoping” was written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Buddy Holly in late 1958.
It’s not easy to describe Buddy Holly because he means a lot to me. I’ll try to be as understated as possible, but even putting it mildly, the dude was a legend.
Born Charles Hardin Holley, Buddy Holly got his stage name from a childhood nickname and a typo on his first recording contract. He was born in 1936 and was an American singer-songwriter hailed as a pioneer of rock and roll music. In fact, music critic Bruce Eder called Holly “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.” Holly was both a solo artist and the lead singer-lead guitarist of The Crickets. Despite being in the business for a decade, Holly didn’t achieve worldwide fame until the last year and a half of his career.
On February 3, 1959, Holly, American musicians Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and the pilot of the plane the trio were aboard died in a crash. The date is frequently referred to as “the day the music died.” Have you ever heard Don McLean’s “American Pie?” That’s what that’s about (partly… it’s all very symbolic). Holly was only 22 years old.
Fellow British Invasion star Ian Whitcomb noted, “”Buddy Holly and the Crickets had the most influence on the Beatles” of any contemporary musicians. John and Paul have agreed with this statement in the past, and Paul reportedly still owns the publishing rights to Holly’s song catalogue. In case you need it further explained, “The Beatles” was a naming homage to “The Crickets.” Beetles to crickets, got it? Needless to say, “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” won’t be the only Buddy Holly song covered on this blog.
Holly originally recorded the vocals for “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” alone with just his guitar on Dec. 14, 1958. Bootlegs of this demo certainly exist online, but for brevity I’m not going to link them here.
After his death two months later, Holly’s home recordings “were turned over to record producer Jack Hansen,” who “hired studio musicians and a backup vocal group, the Ray Charles Singers, to augment Holly’s vocal and guitar. The idea was to match the established sound of Buddy Holly and the Crickets as closely as possible” (Wikipedia). This version was released (as half of a double with “Peggy Sue Got Married”) as Holly’s first posthumous single Jul. 20, 1959.
In 1964, Holly’s manager Norman Petty arranged his own version of “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” in 1964. This version lacks backing vocals and uses different guitar arrangements.
The version I’m linking here is Hansen’s 1959 arrangement because it was explicitly referred to as the version the Beatles listened to and mimicked in their cover. No, the video obviously doesn’t sync to the song (especially since, you know, he was dead before this song was released and therefore never performed it live) but it was the best version of the audio I could find on YouTube.
George has the lead vocals on the Beatles’ version of “Crying, Waiting, Hoping.” Wikipedia notes he also “replicat[es] studio guitarist Donald Arnone’s instrumental bridge, note for note.” It was originally recorded for BBC Radio’s “Pop Go the Beatles,” hence its inclusion on “Live at the BBC.”
Quoth the online Beatles Bible, “The group attempted a slower version of Crying, Waiting, Hoping in January 1969, during the Get Back sessions at Apple Studios.” I believe this is the audio from that attempt.
I don’t know what to say about today’s song. It’s not my favorite Buddy Holly song and it’s not my favorite Beatles song. It’s good, but both can do better.