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Sonny West

Performing Saturday, February 1, 2020

Nearly every time the music of Buddy Holly is played at the Surf Ballroom, the influence of Joseph “Sonny” West can be felt. Along with Norman Petty and Bill Tilghman, he co-wrote two of Holly’s biggest hits, “Oh, Boy!” and “Rave On.”

Born near Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, he recorded “All My Love” with a three-piece band. Buddy Holly heard one of the demos and, along with the Crickets, recorded it as “Oh, Boy!” in 1957. It was released in October of that year and reached No. 10 in the United States and No. 3 in the UK.

In December of 1957, with Petty as his manager, West recorded “Rave On,” but it saw little success. In January 1958 Holly recorded “Rave On” and it was released in April 1958, peaking at No. 37 in the U.S. and No. 5 in England.

After that West wrote and recorded numerous songs, including “Doll Britches,” “Linda Loves a Hula Hoop,” “Love Denied” — later covered by Waylon Jennings” and a version of Freddy Fender’s “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.”