Music in the 50's

It’s So Easy: Finding Info on the Oldies

I question myself writing this post, because on one hand, I think this tip is so incredibly obvious that maybe it’s not worth mentioning… Then again, I think it’s a pretty clever hack!

So let’s say you want to find something out about a song from yesteryear. (Yesteryear being the 1950’s or 60’s) You might want to find out who wrote the song, what song was on the B side, or even what label produced it.

What do you do? Google it? Maybe.

But the fastest, easiest way to find something out about a record is to simply look for one listed for sale on eBay. That’s it! All sellers list their items with photos, so all you have to do is look at the picture:

From this picture of the original 45 RPM 7″ record of “Peggy Sue”, here’s what we find out: “Peggy Sue” was produced by Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca Records. The artist is Buddy Holly and the writing credits go to Jerry Allison and Norman Petty. The original record number is 9-61885.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it’s certainly true. Remember, however, that in order to find the correct information, you need to make sure it’s an original 45 record of the song’s initial release, and not one that was re-released later.

What was originally on the flip side? You’ll find “Everyday”, with writing credits to Charles Hardin and Norman Petty. Charles Hardin is the alternative name that Buddy Holly went by (his birth name was Charles Hardin Holley) Do I really need to tell you this? Maybe not, depending on who is reading. Of course, just by looking at the record itself, you won’t get an immediate answer as to why Holly used his first and middle names as songwriting credits, but you WILL note that at the time the record was released, that is exactly what was printed on it.

Finally, nothing is ever 100% simple, not even this easy hack. While Jerry Allison is credited with writing “Peggy Sue”, it was later revealed by Jerry “J.I.” Allison that Buddy Holly (aka Charles Hardin) was actually the true writer of the song.

So what did we learn? This tip will get you some basic answers: The record label, the song on the B side and who was originally credited with writing the song. All other details you’d have to do more research on, but I find the “eBay method” of looking up songs works in a pinch when you want some quick facts!


Thank you for reading!

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