Song Analysis: That’ll Be The Day

Title: That’ll Be The DayScreen Shot 2015-05-07 at 4.21.16 pm

Artist: Buddy Holly

Album: That’ll Be The Day

Release Details: Released in 1958 by Decca

Genre: Rock n Roll/Rockabilly

Tempo: 128 bpm

Key: A

Structure: Most of Buddy Holly’s songs are quite short and this one is no exception. I also noticed that A LOT of them start with a chorus after the intro and then lead into a verse. The case is the same with That’ll Be The Day. Otherwise, the song’s structure is quite normal. The song’s structure is as follows:

Intro

Chorus 1 – 8 bars

Verse 1 – 8 bars

Chorus 2 – 8 bars

Bridge 12 bars

Chorus 3 – 8 bars

Verse 2 – 8 bars

Chorus 4 -16 bars

Intro

Instrumentation:

Electric guitar – short pick/slide/strumming run into Chorus 1.

Double bass accompanies last two notes of electric guitar leading into Chorus 1.

Chorus 1

Lyrics:

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Instrumentation:

Drums – they exhibit quite a lot of high-end frequencies. Lots of snare, cymbal and high-hat, very little kick comes through (if at all). Positioned centre. Play for first 6 bars then stop and recommence at 2nd beat of 8th bar.

Double bass – plays very simple notes – one note then next note etc. Positioned centre. Not too high in mix but complements other instruments effectively. Very smooth bass sound – quite obviously a double bass. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Main vocal – Has that 50s rock n roll sound – most likely slapback echo. Sings through whole 8 bars unlike the rest of the instruments.

Backing vocal – Sounds like a group of men and women harmonizing underneath ‘that’ll be the day’ and ‘you say you’re gonna leave’ as well as ‘when I die’. They also chime in with ‘ooooohhh’ underneath ‘when you say goodbye’, ‘when you make me cry’ and ‘you know it’s a lie’. They then hum underneath the last line ‘Cause that’ll be the day’ and then chime in straight after underneath ‘when I die’.

Electric guitar – constantly pluck varying notes. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Verse 1 – 8 bars

Lyrics:

Well, you give me all your lovin’ and your turtle dovin’
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby
Until you tell me, maybe
That some day, well I’ll be through

Instrumentation:

Drums – slightly lighter feel than Chorus 1 – Lost of cymbals. 7th and 8th bar just cymbal hits that get louder and come forward in mix until Chorus 2.

Double bass – Plays slightly different notes in same style.

Main vocal remains.

Backing vocal – hums underneath all of main vocal.

Electric guitar – Continues plucking in same manner. Can’t hear very well but one would assume they’re playing different notes.

Chorus 2 – 8 bars

Lyrics:

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Instrumentation:

Drums – Drums identical to Chorus 1. Play for first 6 bars then stop and recommence at 2nd beat of 8th bar.

Double bass – identical to Chorus 1. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Main vocal – Identical to Chorus 1. Sings through whole 8 bars unlike the rest of the instruments.

Backing vocal – Identical to Chorus 1.

Electric guitar – identical to Chorus 1. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Bridge 12 bars

Instrumentation:

Drums – Sounds almost identical to Chorus 1 except that the kick seems more prominent. Typical drum roll for last couple of beats of bar 12 into Chorus 3.

Double bass – Remains the same as rest of song – simple plucking.

Electric guitar – comes forward in mix – raised level. Plays solo for first 4 bars then goes back to plucking for bars 5-8. Comes back in at 9th bar for another solo-type performance that descends (note wise) into Chorus 3.

Chorus 3 – 8 bars

Lyrics:

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Instrumentation:

Drums – Drums identical to Chorus 1. Play for first 6 bars then stop and recommence at 2nd beat of 8th bar.

Double bass – identical to Chorus 1. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Main vocal – Identical to Chorus 1. Sings through whole 8 bars unlike the rest of the instruments.

Backing vocal – Identical to Chorus 1.

Electric guitar – identical to Chorus 1. Plays for first 6 bars then stops and recommences at 2nd beat of 8th bar

Verse 2 – 8 bars

Lyrics:

Well, when Cupid shot his dart
He shot it at your heart
So if we ever part and I leave you
You sit and hold me and you tell me boldly
That some day, well I’ll be blue

Instrumentation:

Drums – slightly lighter feel than Chorus 1 – Lots of cymbals. 7th and 8th bar just cymbal hits that get louder and come forward in mix until Chorus 2. Offbeat triple tap over 3rd and 4th beats of 4th bar.

Double bass – Plays slightly different notes in same style.

Main vocal remains.

Backing vocal – hums underneath all of main vocal.

Electric guitar – Continues plucking in same manner. Can’t hear very well but one would assume they’re playing different notes.

Chorus 4 -16 bars

Lyrics:

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Well, that’ll be the day, hoo-hoo
That’ll be the day, hoo-hoo
That’ll be the day, hoo-hoo
That’ll be the day

Instrumentation:

Drums – identical to Chorus 1 but doubled. 6 tom hits at ‘make me cry’. Plays through until last bar with a couple of taps and drum roll out.

Double bass – also identical but doubled length. Plays with 6 tom hits at ‘make me cry’. Stops initially for last bar then a couple of plucks with drum roll.

Vocal – First 8 bars identical to Chorus 1.

Backing vocal – First 8 bars identical to Chorus 1. Next 7 bars just droning sound underneath main vocal. Stop at bar 8.

Electric guitar – First 8 bars identical to Chorus 1. Changes to light strumming over top of next 7 bars. Decrescendo at 16th bar to final pluck on 4th beat.

References

Buddy Holly – That’ll Be The Day. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.discogs.com/Buddy-Holly-Thatll-Be-The-Day/master/183346

Tempo Tap. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.tempotap.com/

That’ll Be The Day. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.e-chords.com/chords/buddy-holly/thatll-be-the-day

BUDDY HOLLY LYRICS. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buddyholly/thatllbetheday.html

THAT’LL BE THE DAY – BUDDY HOLLY [Image] (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.discogs.com/Buddy-Holly-Thatll-Be-The-Day/master/183346

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