The song was written in 1957 by David White and John Madara. You will see Artie Singer’s name in the credits, but he was only the producer. David White was a member of the Juvenairs, who would later be called “Danny and the Juniors”.
The original name and original recording of the song was under the name “Do the Bop”. The Juvenairs or Danny and the Juniors where, John White, Danny Rapp, Joe Terranova and Frank Maffei. David took the song to his coach/record producer Artie Singer. Artie liked the song, scheduled a recording session at Reco-Art Studios in Philly and included a B side of another song David had written called “Sometimes (where we are along”. The Juvenairs sang back up and John Madara was lead for “Do the Bop”.
John Madara was already under contract and needed another song. His record company did not like the recording and turned it down. It was taken to other companies who also turned it down. Artie then took the song to Dick Clark who actually liked it, but suggested a name change to “At the Hop” because the bop was loosing it’s popularity. Artie, changed the name, some lyrics, thus he became co-writer and arranged another recording session.
The new recording session would just be the Juvenairs, with the new name Danny & the Juniors with Danny Rapp on lead and John Madara in the control booth. Dave had this “Whole lotta shakin’ piano” idea and expressed that to the producer Emile Corsen. Emile assembled Walt Gates on Grand Piano, Artie Singer on upright bass and Jack O’Brien on drums. They now had a new name for both song and group, At the Hop by Danny & the Juniors and the rest they say is just Rock and Roll History.
“At the Hop” would spend 7 weeks at #1 on Billboard starting in January 1958.
The title of this song was predicated around a 1956 John Wayne movie called The Searchers. Both Sonny Curtis and Buddy had gone to the movie and Buddy was stuck on the fact that John Wayne used the phrase “That’ll be the Day” through the entire movie.
Nashville: Buddy signed that ill fated contract with Decca in Nashville and went there in 1956 to record. One of the songs would be “That’ll be the day”. Here is the Nashville line-up
(July 22, 1956 at Bradley’s Barn, Nashville)
- Buddy Holly – vocals, guitar
- Sonny Curtis – guitar
- Don Guess – bass
- Jerry Allison – drums
February 25, 1957 at Norman Petty Recording Studio)
- Buddy Holly – lead guitar and vocals
- Larry Welborn – bass
- Jerry Allison – drums
- Niki Sullivan – background vocals
- June Clark – background vocals
- Gary Tollett – background vocals
- Ramona Tollett – background vocals
[Editor’s note – Thought you’d like to see this…]