With what would have been Buddy Holly's 75th birthday fast approaching, record companies are predictably shifting to tribute mode and cashing in. Late June witnessed the release of Fantasy Records' compilation Rave On Buddy Holly, which featured covers of the rock pioneers songs by Paul McCartney, She & Him and My Morning Jacket. Not to be outdone, Verve Forecast will be releasing its own compilation tribute Listen to Me: Buddy Holly featuring Ringo Starr, Chris Isaak and– cough–Fall Out Boy front man Patrick Stump. Though Verve's choice of some of the artists seems to indicate otherwise, the label assures us this is a tribute.
Holly's version featured a uniquely minimal arrangement–bass, a chimey xylophone, hand claps and Holly's wonderfully crackly croon. Though its production was sparse, the song was overwhelmingly melodic.
The Patrick Stump version features the ham fisted, over-produced sound one expects from a blockbuster Disney theme song. The chimey xylophone is traded for one with a heavier sound, as well as violins, a gospel chorus and Stump's overwrought needle-point whine.
Thank you Verve, you've tarnished a national treasure.
It only seems right that we do something to atone for this atrocity, so enjoy the version of the same song as performed by Fiona Apple and producer Jon Brion for the Fantasy release. More faithful to the original, the duo enhances the song with two part harmonies which synergize beautifully thanks to Brion's low key, unassuming energy mixed with Apple's smoky, raspy voice. Listen to Me: Buddy Holly will be available in stores and online Sept. 6.