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Elvis Presley — Jailhouse Rock article page
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Jailhouse Rock" is a song written by Leiber and Stoller that first became a hit for Elvis Presley. The song was first released as a 45rpm single on September 24, 1957, to coincide with the release of Presley's motion picture, Jailhouse Rock. Composer Mike Stoller can be seen playing piano in the film presentation of the song.

The single, with its B-side "Treat Me Nice", was a US #1 hit for 7 weeks in the fall of 1957, and a UK #1 hit for three weeks early in 1958. The song, which is an example of simple verse form, eventually sold two million copies in the US, thus earning a Double Platinum certification by the RIAA.

Also in 1957, "Jailhouse Rock" was the lead song in a EP (extended play single), together with other Leiber and Stoller compositions, namely "Young and Beautiful", "I Want to be Free", "Don't Leave Me Now", and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care". It topped the Billboard EP charts, eventually selling an additional two million copies and earning another double-platinum RIAA certification.

About the Song

Some of the characters named in the song are real people. Shifty Henry was a well known LA musician (and not a convict). The Purple Gang was a real mob, not a rhythm section. "Bugsy" was probably Bugsy Siegel, the Jewish gangster.

"Sad Sack" was a World War II US army nickname for a loser, and a popular comic strip.

The song was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

As noted by Rolling Stone magazine (which later ranked the song #67 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time), there are parts of the lyrics that may represent talk about homosexual relationships between inmates:

Elvis Presley Music Number forty-seven said to number three
You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see
I sure would be delighted with your company
Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.

On the other hand, many see this as a lighthearted reference to forced environmental improvisation, as reflected in the next verse:

Sad Sack was a sittin on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin all alone.
The warden said, hey, buddy, don't you be no square.
If you can't find a partner use a wooden chair.
After all:

Everybody in the whole cellblock, was dancing to the jailhouse rock.
"Jailhouse Rock" was performed regularly in a medley along with many old rock'n'roll hits by Queen and was the opening song on Queen's 1980 North American tour for The Game. It was the last song in the motion picture The Blues Brothers. This song was featured on American Idol when contestant Taylor Hicks performed it on May 9, 2006. The song was also featured in Disney's animated film Leroy & Stitch during the ending credits.

"Jailhouse Rock" has also been recorded by:

• The Residents

• Mцtley Crьe

• Blues Brothers

• ZZ Top

• Twisted Sister

• John Cougar Mellencamp

• Michael Bolton

• Jeff Beck Group (featuring Rod Stewart and Ron Wood)

• Adriano Celentano

• Carl Perkins

• Cliff Richard As A Live Show

• ABBA with Olivia Newton-John and Andy Gibb

• David Lebуn

• Queen

German rock group Spider Murphy Gang is named after one of the characters in the lyrics, "Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone."

1. 1 on the US charts

2. 2 on the Canadian charts

3. 33 on the UK charts

"Jailhouse Rock" was the top-selling record for 25 years & also reached number one in versions by:

• John Stump (UK)#1

• Carl Perkins (US) #1

Lyrics for Jailhouse Rock

performed by Elvis Presley

(Jerry Leiber — Mike Stoller)

The warden threw a party in the county jail.
The prison band was there and they began to wail.
The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing.
You should've heard those knocked out jailbirds sing.
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
Little Joe was blowin' on the slide trombone.
The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang,
the whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang.
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Number forty-seven said to number three:
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company,
come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

The sad sack was a sittin' on a block of stone
way over in the corner weepin' all alone.
The warden said, "Hey, buddy, don't you be no square.
If you can't find a partner use a wooden chair."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Shifty Henry said to Bugs, "For Heaven's sake,
no one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break."
Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said, "Nix nix,
I wanna stick around a while and get my kicks."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.





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