I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold song)

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"I Wish You Would"
Single by Billy Boy Arnold as "Billy Boy"
B-side "I Was Fooled"
Released June 1955 (1955-06)[1]
Format 10" 78 rpm & 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Universal Recording Studios, Chicago
May 5, 1955[1]
Genre Blues
Length 2:55
Label Vee-Jay (Cat. no. 146)
Writer(s) Billy Boy Arnold aka Billy Boy
Billy Boy Arnold as "Billy Boy" singles chronology
"I Ain't Got No Money"/ "Hello Stranger" (1953) "I Wish You Would"
"I Ain't Got You"/ "Don't Stay Out All Night"

"I Wish You Would" is a song recorded by Chicago blues musician Billy Boy Arnold in 1955. It was developed while Arnold was performing with Bo Diddley and incorporates a Diddley-style rhythm.[2] Called "a timeless Chicago blues classic",[3] "I Wish You Would" is Arnold's best-known song and has been recorded by several artists, including the Yardbirds, who recorded it for their debut single in 1964.

Original song[edit]

"I Wish You Would" was developed from "Diddy Diddy Dum Dum", a song Billy Boy Arnold wrote and sang with Bo Diddley. Leonard Chess, the owner/producer of Diddley's record label, planned to record the song as Diddley's second single. However, Arnold heard that Chess did not like him, so he took the song to Chess rival Vee-Jay Records.[4] Vee-Jay suggested that he change the lyrics, so Arnold came up with "I Wish You Would".

Early in the morning about the break of day
That's when my baby went away
Crying and pleading won't do you no good
Come back baby I wish you would

The song features a one-chord modal blues structure with a repeating guitar figure and Diddley-style rhythm. Backing Arnold (vocal and harmonica) are Jody Williams (guitar), Milton Rector (bass), and Earl Phillips (drums). The single, credited to "Billy Boy", reportedly sold well,[2] but did not appear in the national record charts. Arnold revisited "I Wish You Would" several times during his career, producing new studio versions and live versions of the song for a variety of record labels.

Arnold later commented that because of "I Wish You Would" he was unfairly labeled as a Bo Diddley stylist. "I was a straight blues guy... Bo Diddley's stuff was rock'n'rollish, it wasn't straight blues, and when I did "I Wish You Would," and it had that similar type of beat, that just throws me in the same pot with Bo Diddley, 'cause everybody identified the song as a Bo Diddley type of song. But I had no intention of ever doing anything like Bo Diddley, 'cause that wasn't my style of music."[4]

The Yardbirds versions[edit]

"I Wish You Would"
Single by The Yardbirds
B-side "A Certain Girl"
Released May 1964 (1964-05) (UK)
August 1964 (1964-08) (US)
Format 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Olympic Studios, London[5]
February 1964 (1964-02)
Genre Blues rock
Length 2:19
Label Columbia (Cat. no. DB 7283) (UK)
Epic (Cat. no. 5-9709) (US)
Writer(s) Billy Boy Arnold
Producer(s) Giorgio Gomelsky
The Yardbirds singles chronology
"I Wish You Would"
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"

English rock band The Yardbirds released "I Wish You Would" as their debut single in 1964. This studio recording lacks the Bo Diddley-style beat and is considerably shorter than live versions performed by the Yardbirds around this time.[6] The single did not enter the record charts in either the UK or US, but was later released on the Yardbirds' first American album, For Your Love, which reached #96 in Billboard's Top LPs chart in 1965.

The original U.S. release marked the first of several printing errors made by The Yardbirds' U.S. label, Epic. Both the single and extremely rare picture sleeve show the title as "I Wish You Could". One side of the picture sleeve shows the group, the other side an unrelated advertisement for Esquire socks. The record label was later corrected and re-released, but the picture sleeve was withdrawn.

Several live versions of "I Wish You Would" were recorded by the Yardbirds, which were later released. A version from 1963 with Eric Clapton was released on London 1963 – The First Recordings!; a 1965 recording by the BBC with Jeff Beck was released on Yardbirds ... On Air; and a 1968 version with Jimmy Page appears on Last Rave-Up in LA.

Other versions[edit]

A variety of artists have recorded "I Wish You Would", including Hot Tuna (Hoppkorv album)(1976); Canned Heat from Live at Topanga Corral (1969, released 1971), David Bowie from Pin Ups (1973), Sweet from Identity Crisis (1982), The Red Devils from King King (1992), and the Dex Romweber Duo on Is That You In The Blue? (2011).


  1. ^ a b Robert Pruter; Robert L. Campbell; Robert Stallworth; Bob Marovich; Tom Kelly. "Vee-Jay: The Early Years". hubcap.clemson.edu. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Dahl, Bill (1996). Erlewine, Michael, ed. All Music Guide to the Blues. Miller Freeman Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-87930-424-3. 
  3. ^ Morris, Chris (April 14, 2001). "Declaration of Independents". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 113 (15): 59. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  4. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Billy Boy Arnold Interview". Richie Unterberger. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ Russo 1998, p. 84.
  6. ^ Russo, Greg (1998). Yardbirds: The Ultimate Rave-Up. Crossfire Publications. p. 160. ISBN 0-9648157-3-7.