“That’ll Be the Day” Buddy Holly and John Wayne
So what’s the connection between Buddy Holly’s rock-and-roll hit song “That’ll be the Day” and John Wayne? One inspired the other.
The phrase “That’ll be the day” was first used by John Wayne in the classic western “The Searchers.” His character, Ethan Edwards always used the phrase when another person in the movie said something that Wayne’s character didn’t believe would happen.
According to legend, Buddy Holly and his friend and band-mate Jerry Allison saw the movie “The Searchers” and heard John Wayne use the phrase throughout the film. One night, while Holly and Jerry were working together, Holly said to him that it sure would be great if they could write a hit song. Jerry replied “That’ll be the day.” Immediately inspired, they wrote the rock-and-roll song of the same name.
“That’ll be the day” was the first megahit recording for Buddy Holly and his band The Crickets. The song was released in July 1957, just over one year after the movie “The Searchers” was released in movie theatres.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes “That’ll be the Day” as one of the 500 songs that has most influenced Rock and Roll music. Moreover, Rolling Stone Magazine names this song as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All time.
And the influence of John Wayne’s phrase on Rock and Roll history goes even further than Buddy Holly. There was an up-and-coming British band known as The Quarrymen who recorded a demonstration disc. The first song that they recorded for the disc was “That’ll be the Day” which was also reportedly the first song that band member John Lennon learned how to play on the guitar. The Quarrymen later became the mega-sensational band The Beatles. In honor of their history with this song, The Beatles made an official recording of “That’ll be the Day” in 1995 for their compilation album “Anthology.”
Listen to “That’ll Be the Day” song.