I Try To Show You But You Drive Me Back

Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded ‘Not Fade Away’ in May, 1957 and over the years the song was done by many other bands over the years, everyone from Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, The Byrds, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Rush, Tanya Tucker, the Beatles, U2, Simon & Garfunkel, Stevie Nicks, the Everly Brothers, Queen to the Grateful Dead. Buddy Holly wrote this song (originally under his first and middle names, Charles Hardin) and Norman Petty who was the producer was probably only given co-writing credit as a formality and this song features the Holly Hiccup vocal stutters.  Holly had this totally unique, perfect blend of old hillbilly and new rock & roll coming from Lubbock, Texas and he perfected this clipped ‘uh’ sound that he used to emphasize certain words in any given song, especially the rockers.  By inserting an extra syllable, the hiccup has allowed some listeners to interpret the lines differently from what others hear.

This song was written as a variant of the legendary Bo Diddley beat, which was an update of the ‘hambone’ rhythm. “Hambone, hambone have you heard? Papa’s gonna buy me a mocking bird And if that mocking bird don’t sing Papa’s gonna buy me a diamond ring.”  Although it is no longer politically correct, this is also called juba music because of the raw dance beat that comes directly from the African jungle.  Juba dances in Africa were called Giouba and in Haiti they were known as Djouba.  This name has origins in slavery, supposedly originated from ‘hand-bone’, the hard part of the hand that makes the most sound.

The Buddy Holly version includes a lot of “Bop-bop-bop-bop” lyrics.  Young Mick Jagger saw Buddy Holly’s 1958 performance of this song and he said this inspired him to form his own band.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been primary school classmates and friends until their parents moved apart.  Meeting up again when they were both in college, they realized that they shared an interest in blues and rock music.  They formed a group that initially focused on American blues classics.  After a few early personnel changes, the group settled on a quintet with Jagger on lead vocals, Richards and Brian Jones on guitar, Bill Wyman on bass and Charlie Watts on drums.  In 1964, the song became the Rolling Stones’ first release in the U.S.  The Stones made the song more modern by removing the hiccup.

‘Not Fade Away’ was performed 530 times by the Grateful Dead in their career, and it was their seventh most-performed song.  Guitarist Bob Weir is the lead singer for Not Fade Away, but Jerry, bassist Phil Lesh and keyboardist Brett Mydland all share the vocals.  Jerry Garcia plays lead guitar and Phil Lesh is prominent on bass along both of the Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann are thumping away, helping to maintain the Bo Diddley beat.  The song switches back and forth from jamming to singing.  At the end of the piece, the song quite literally “just fades away.”  The band members begin repeating “not fade away,” but more and more softly.

The song is an adamant insistence about winning the love of another, where the singer declares to the object of his affection that his love is true, in return for her saving all her passion for him.

I wanna tell you how it’s gonna be
You’re gonna give your love to me
I wanna love you night and day
You know my love will not fade away
You know my love will not fade away
Not fade away

My love’s bigger than a Cadillac
I try to show you but you drive me back
Your love for me has got to be real
You’re gonna know just how I feel
Love’s real, not fade away
Not fade away

Written for 8/12/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “drive/driving”.

9 thoughts on “I Try To Show You But You Drive Me Back

  1. Wow! Your SLS pieces are so interesting! Although I knew Not Fade Away was recorded by everyone and his brother, I had no idea the Dead did, too. I have to say, though, that their version is my least favorite. Their jams are just too self-indulgent for me and, IMO, diminish the song. The Stones, on the other hand, honor Holly’s original even without the hiccup. The Mike Douglas Show was an afternoon talk show (I watched every day!), and you can see how Jagger struggled to rein himself in, likely to comport with standards and practices rules. Even so, he can’t help but dance to Holly’s energetic tune. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment. I watched the Mike Douglas show also, but only occasionally. I understand that the Dead are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the jams. Buddy Holly made so much great music that everyone loves to dance to.

      Liked by 1 person

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