Cover illustration of A.E. Van Vogt's Silkie by Jack Gaughan, 1969
This is the beginning of a new series of "We Love..." posts that will probably span many, many weeks - I have a long list of favorite songs with handclaps (be warned that I will continually and incorrectly be spelling "handclaps" as a single word the whole time as well). I wanted to start with an early example of handclaps in pop music, but I was having trouble pinning down pre-1960 songs that use handclaps prominently (my music collection is sadly lacking in records from that era). Then it came to me - Buddy Holly's tracks always had interesting percussion because of Crickets innovative drummer Jerry Allison!
The Buddy Holly song with the best handclaps is "Love's Made a Fool of You", recorded in 1958 - at the time, it was an old song, one of the original compositions he'd written with Bob Montgomery. A single handclap punctuates the end of each line, treated with that recognizable reverb from Holly's producer Norman Petty. "Love's Made a Fool of You" was recorded by the post-Holly Crickets and by the Bobby Fuller Four, but Holly's version didn't get released until 1964, several years after his death - it was included in the posthumous Showcase collection assembled by Norman Petty. The funny thing about the song is that Holly didn't record those handclaps - Petty added them when he was preparing the track for its posthumous release. It's hard to fault him for the addition, though - the handclaps make that song SO much better.
"Love's Made a Fool of You" by Buddy Holly