"Peggy Sue" is perhaps Holly's best-known subject. Her story is covered in its entirety by a pair of rabble-rousers. Lou Reed handles the original "Peggy Sue" in a rough-edged manner that also manages to display Reed's obvious affection for the artist. John Doe, leader of Los Angeles band X, covers Holly's sequel (and one of his final recordings), "Peggy Sue Got Married" in an appropriately solemn and heartfelt tribute.
Perhaps the album's most pleasant surprise is the endearing tenderness brought to "Words of Love" by the godmother of punk, Patti Smith, now nearly three times Holly's age when he died in that Iowa crash. Smith's take on this song (previously covered so well by the Beatles) is gentle and reflective, and her voice seems to convey a lifetime's worth of hard-earned wisdom. "It's a very simple song," Smith explained in a recent interview. "But … it speaks without artifice. It's pure."
Holly's performing career lasted only a handful of years. But the wide range of the artists who signed up to contribute to this tribute is a testament to the broad and lasting appeal of his music.