‘LITTLE LONELY SUMMER GIRL’ (Box, 1964) (Reviewed as ‘Buddy Holly on Steroids’)
David Box, who replaced Buddy Holly in the Crickets for a time following the tragic plane crash after ‘ the Day The Music Died’ in 1959, had multiple recordings which were likely hit material such as the this last single released not long before Box’ tragic death in 1964-so much so that Roy Orbison, himself, would write two songs for Box and record him while inviting Box to stay at Orbison’s Nashville home. Inexplicably, this final and potential breakthrough hit was pulled from the airwaves on Box’s death in an airplane crash, according to an unnamed source and arranger on the song who was at the recording session (Youtube).
50th Anniversary Tribute to David Box Songs
DAVID BOX STORY – Holly/Cricket Replacement Was Unsung Hero Of Rock and Roll
Box Had Everything Going Until Ironic, Untimely Death
Unsung Hero of Rock & Roll
‘Out of the Box’ Instrumental Tribute from Brian McCrae (played on David Box’ stratocaster) with Rita Box Peek
David Box was only 17 and still in high school in Lubbock, Texas, when he learned of ‘the plane crash,’ on what would later be called ‘the day the music died’ in Don McLean’s tribute ‘American Pie.’ According to David’s sister, Rita Box Peak, David was ‘devastated’ when he learned of Buddy Holly’s death on February 3, 1959. He had lost his musical and hometown idol. Yet, Holly’s songs continued to be a source of inspiration and it was later that year that Box would get his own Stratocaster guitar, like that of Holly. He was already involved in a rock and roll band called The Rythm Teens, which had yet to find a drummer.
Unable to enter a local talent contest without a drummer, Box attended the contest and was impressed with Ernie Hall, who performed solo representing a number of famous drumming styles including those of Crickets’ Jerry Allison. It wasn’t long before Hall joined up with David and another person to form the Ravens.
MEET THE CRICKETS
Rita, five years David’s junior, remembers her brother’s strong desire to succeed, as she explains in the liner notes of the recent 32-song David Box CD (Roller Coaster) now available through her (http://RitaBoxPeek.com) . She remembers the store owner where David bought his stratocaster telling them that David had already taught HIM a few things on the guitar.
Meanwhile, good fortune would have it that Ernie Hall lived just across the street from Jerry Allison, the drummer for the Crickets. Allison had recently moved with remaining Crickets to Los Angeles. Hall had sent him an acetate of two songs Allison must have like and Hall and Box were invited to Los Angeles to record those two songs with the Crickets (‘Don’t Cha Know’ and ‘Peggy Sue Got Married,’ the old Buddy Holly song), who , were looking for new talent after the loss of Holly.
Just like that, Box had made his first 45 record (with the Crickets) with the A side ‘Don’t Cha Know’ written by Box and the ‘B’ site the old Holly song ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ ( though we’ve seen some conflicting notes on which was really the A and B sides.
David Box is not pictured in above photo but it is him singing lead on ‘Don’t Cha Know.’ We have yet to see a cover for this single with his picture on it. Certainly, poor publicity like this did not help his career. Pictured are original Crickets Jerry Allison, Joe B Mauldin and long-time off-and-on lead Sonny Curtis.
Still in high school, Box was already involved in a recording and with Holly’s old group no less,though he and Hall would have to return home to continue their education. And that was the extent of Box’ association with the Crickets, but it was a springboard for him. He would continue to hone his craft back home in Lubbock.
Said one of his old high school classmates at a 2001 reunion,
‘David was extremely adept as a guitarist and would have been in the same league as Clapton had he lived. His vocal range fell just short of Orbison but covered a greater span than most singers,’according to the aforementioned CD liner notes.
David was inspired by Roy as well as Buddy Holly and his delivery brought to mind both of them. He was described as a hard-working , unassuming, shy kid by other classmates.
David would later transfer to Lubbock High School where he found an ‘enlightened’ administration that encouraged his musical aspirations. He found , too, a pool of musical talent to draw from and the next incarnation of his group would be known as The Shamrocks.
The Shamrocks would record ‘Some Sweet Day’ and ‘That’s All I Want From You’ at Ben Hall’s Studio. Hall had one of the few recording studios in West Texas that were equipped to record rock and roll. Prior to the opening of his studio many artists had to travel further, such as Buddy Holly did going to Norman Petty’s famed NorVaJak studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Though Some Sweet Day and That’s All I Want From You tunes didn’t make it to vinyl, they are available on the new David Box Story CD.
While Box was waiting for his recording career to get into high gear, he continued to record. This time it was cover versions of a couple rhythm and blues tunes,Little Richard’s ‘Slippin and Slidin’ and the Fats Domino’s ‘Valley of Tears.’ Rita and former Shamrock James Shipley felt ‘Valley of Tears,’though never formally released to the public, was ‘one of Box’ finest vocal performances.’ ‘These performances remind me of his casual style coming from his room, that would always draw me there, ‘ says Rita. She includes ‘Some Sweet Day’ in the same category. Both these songs are also available on ‘The David Box Story’ CD. She referred to her brother as ‘painting with music’ and said ‘artistic goals were very high and he expected to fulfill them all within a very short time.
BIG TIME – First Professional Recording Session
Box Makes Big Impression on Orbison
‘David’s first solo professional recording session was arranged for the 5th of April, 1962 in Nashville. By invitation, he and Ben Hall stayed at the home of Roy Orbison, a close associate of Ben’s, according to the liner notes of the ‘Box Story’ CD. ‘ David had found his next great influence (in Orbison. In the next few days before the recording session they sat around talking music, playing guitars and singing. Record company owner Ted Groebl was also in Nashville and witnessed some of the interaction between David and Orbison. Ted remembers that Orbison was so impressed with David both as a singer and as a guitarist. Roy was amazed how David could play those Buddy Holly licks. It was then that Orbison came up with two compositions for Box to record, at the time known as ‘Don’t Talk About Her’ and ‘Don’t Pity Me,’ but later retitled ‘If You Can’t Say Something Nice’ and ‘I’ve Had My Moments.’ The recording session took place at RCA Studios famous Studio B
Only 5 Singles (10 songs) But Lots of Unreleased Tunes 22 of Which Have Been Since Released on The David Box Story CD
David Box only had five singles released and no albums until the 2002 David Box Story, during his five year career. But , he recorded probably more than 50 tunes, rivaling Buddy Holly’s production. Any number of these tunes could have been viable singles, and fortunately, tapes were saved and 22 more tunes have since been recorded on the 2002 ‘David Box Story CD, along with these 10 previously released singles songs. And, more good news is that we’re told by Rita that there is a Volume 2 of the David Box Story in the offing!
TO BE CONTINUED…
WHY BOX DIDN’T STICK WITH THE CRICKETS
David Box was only 17 and just starting out when , through a local connection, he was introduced and asked to sing on a Crickets single in 1960, following the passing of lead singer Buddy Holly. The single’s two songs, ‘Don’t Cha Know’ (Box) and ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ (Holly) made it onto the album ‘In Style With The Crickets.’ Perhaps these songs were not of the caliber of the material Box would later record as he was growing as an artist or it was just intended as a one time thing. Add that to the fact that Box was to return home from Los Angeles to finish high school and that Sonny Curtis – though not of the caliber of Box as a lead singer – was now doing most of the lead singing for the Crickets . For whatever reason, Box never returned to the Crickets after only with them for a month or so, recording the two-song single that also appeared on a Crickets album, then touring with them briefly . In any event, it’s no small thing to add to his resume’ that Box followed his idol, Buddy Holly, singing lead for the Crickets and on the last single the Crickets would perform on Holly’s original Coral label – even if it was only for a brief moment in time.
“Don’t Cha Know” / “Peggy Sue Got Married” David Box, lead singer, Coral Records (1960). However, it might not have made much difference anyway who the lead singers for the Crickets were, sans Holly, through the 1960s as they would never have another charting record in the Top 100 with anyone other than Holly. (Holly had several posthumous minor hits in the U.S. following his death and many in the U.K.)
Box became friends with Orbison and, in 1962, recorded two excellent renditions of Orbison songs in Nashville under the auspices of Orbison . “If You Can’t Say Something Nice” / “I’ve Had My Moments” on Candix Records rivaled Orbison’s own versions of the songs; in fact, Box’s slowed-down version of ‘Moments’ was probably better than Orbison’s (and Box’s own) uptempo version. Yet, nothing came of those, either. By then, Box had really polished his craft both as a singer, guitar player and song writer. And, just when perhaps his biggest and best song was hitting the airwaves, late 1964, Box perished in his own plane crash, and, purportedly, his songs (‘Little Lonely Summer Girl‘ b/w ‘No One Will Ever Know’) were pulled from the airwaves for reasons we don’t know.
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