Songwriter of Buddy Holly’s ‘Oh Boy’, ‘Rave On’ Sonny West dies

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 12:56 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It is with heavy hearts we share with Buddy Holly fans and Rockabilly aficionados, Sonny West, most notably the songwriter of “Oh Boy” and “Rave On”, passed away on September 8, 2022 in Grove Oklahoma.

Sonny West, was born as Joe Bob West in West Texas on July 30, 1937. Though Sonny lived many years in Texas and throughout the Southwest, he resided in Northeast Oklahoma the last two years of his life.

Sonny wrote songs, and was a man of many other talents as well, being a self-taught silversmith and artist of beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry inspired by the Native Navajo and Zuni American Tribes of New Mexico. Sonny was also an inventor. He single-handedly manufactured vinyl record needles for jukeboxes around the world. In more recent years, Sonny was a maker of several styles of guitars showcasing that special sound of a bygone era.

Many of us in Sonny’s world, felt he was there at the very beginning of real Rock-n-Roll music, and fortunately crossed paths with Buddy Holly at just the right time, when they were mere teenagers. He has now become one of the last to close out that era.

Before his songs made the Billboard charts with Buddy Holly’s rendition, Sonny had recorded the double-sided 45 record “Rock-ola Ruby” and “Sweet Rockin’ Baby” in 1956. These songs are considered by many to be the beginning of the Rockabilly genre, where it led to what we know as Rock-n-Roll Music.

Sonny is one of the original inductees of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the West Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of BMI’s Million Airplays Award. His songs have been recorded by scores of artists and featured in dozens of television shows, films, documentaries, and television ads.

Until recently, Sonny performed in live shows in Europe and the U.S., entertaining fans with his well-known classics. He was proud to be a part of the rich history his music had been an integral part of.

He is survived by one sister, two daughters, two step-sons, a step-daughter, four grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his wife.

Public visitation date and time are pending.A public “Rave On” Celebration of Life will also be planned for November in Oklahoma. If you would like to attend, inquire by email at

If you were impacted by Rockabilly Music, or specifically Sonny’s songs, and would like to share memories, photos or other correspondence, please write to:

Sandra Fay West-Haynes

PO Box 451391Grove OK 74345-1391

In lieu of flowers, please send support to the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. (