Jailhouse Rock (song)

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For other uses, see Jailhouse Rock (disambiguation).
"Jailhouse Rock"
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album Jailhouse Rock
B-side "Treat Me Nice"
Released September 24, 1957
Format 45 rpm single, 78 rpm single
Recorded April 30, 1957
Genre Rock and roll, Rockabilly
Length 2:23
Writer(s) Leiber/Stoller
Producer(s) Leiber/Stoller
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (June 11, 1957) "Jailhouse Rock"
(September 24, 1957)
"Don't" (January 7, 1958)
Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" from the 1957 film Jailhouse Rock

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

The song as recorded by Elvis Presley is #67 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[1] and was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, it finished at #21 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Characters and themes[edit]

Some of the characters named in the song are real people. Shifty Henry was a well-known L.A. musician, not a criminal. The Purple Gang was a real mob. "Sad Sack" was a U.S. Army nickname in World War II for a loser, which also became the name of a popular comic strip and comic book character.

Gender studies say that the song is also known for "its famous reference to homoerotics behind bars".[2] Indeed, according to Garry Mulholland, " 'Jailhouse Rock' was always a queer lyric, in both senses. 'Number 47 said to number 3/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.' "[3] According to Rolling Stone, Leiber and Stoller's "theme song for Presley's third movie was decidedly silly, the kind of tongue-in-cheek goof they had come up with for The Coasters. The King, however, sang it as straight rock & roll, overlooking the jokes in the lyrics (like the suggestion of gay romance when inmate Number 47 tells Number 3, 'You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see') and then introducing Scotty Moore's guitar solo with a cry so intense that the take almost collapses."[4] Douglas Brode thinks it "amazing that the sequence passed by the censors".[5]

Releases and chart performance[edit]

The single, with its B-side "Treat Me Nice," was a US #1 hit for seven weeks in the fall of 1957, and a UK #1 hit for three weeks early in 1958.[6] In addition, "Jailhouse Rock" spent one week at the top of the US country charts,[7] and reached the No. 2 position on the R&B chart.[8]

Also in 1957, "Jailhouse Rock" was the lead song in an EP (extended play single), together with other songs from the film, 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 two million copies and earning a double-platinum RIAA certification.

In 2005, the song was re-released in the UK and reached No. 1 for a single week. The song, which is an example of simple verse form, eventually received an additional double-platinum certification from the RIAA in 1992, representing shipments of two million copies of the single.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Covers and references[edit]

"Jailhouse Rock" was performed regularly in a medley along with many old rock and roll hits by Queen as early as 1970[25] 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 Season 5 contestant Taylor Hicks performed it on May 9, 2006 and when Season 7 contestant Danny Noriega performed it on February 20, 2008. The song was also featured in the 1995 film Casper when the ghosts are at the bar, and Disney's animated film Lilo & Stitch during the ending credits. In an episode of Full House Jesse and Becky sing this song at their wedding reception. The song was included in the musical revue "Smokey Joe's Cafe". The song was used three times on Dancing With The Stars for three different jives from Lisa Rinna, Lil Kim, and Tommy Chong.

The German rock band Spider Murphy Gang is named after one of the characters in the lyrics.

In Stephen King's novel Christine, "Jailhouse Rock" is playing when the car runs down Buddy Repperton, one of the guys who smashed up the car at the garage.

American rock and roll revival act Sha Na Na performed "Jailhouse Rock" live at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.

Westlife performed the song for the medley part of their Where the Dreams Come True Tour.

Chris Brown covered the song at the 2007 Movie's Rock.

Scenes from the music video of the Eminem's "We Made You" are based the "Jailhouse Rock" production number from the Elvis film.

Scratch Track added this song to their live performance of "Love Someone."

Dwayne Johnson performed a parody of the song that pokes fun at his Wrestlemania XXVIII opponent John Cena during the Rock Concert on an episode of WWE Raw in March 2012. WWE later released this version on iTunes as "Rock's Concert".

Scenes from the music video of the One Direction single Kiss You are based on the "Jailhouse Rock" production number from the Elvis film.[26]

"Jailhouse Rock" has also been recorded by:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  2. ^ Philip Brett, Elizabeth Wood and Gary Thomas, Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology (Routledge, 2006), p.363.
  3. ^ Garry Mulholland, Popcorn: Fifty Years of Rock'n'Roll Movies (Orion Books, 2010).
  4. ^ "Jailhouse Rock". In Rolling Stone, December 9, 2004.
  5. ^ Douglas Brode, Elvis Cinema and Popular Culture (McFarland & Co., 2006), p.46.
  6. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 34. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 272. 
  8. ^ Billboard Dec 16, 1957. page 61
  9. ^ a b Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book: 1940-1969: the Hit Songs and Records from Thirty Years of Specially Compiled Charts. Australian Chart Book Limited. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Elvis Presley: Jailhouse Rock" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "Elvis Presley - Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Joel Whitburn's top pop singles 1955-2006. Record Research. 2008-01-08. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Elvis Presley – (You're the) Devil in Disguise". Singles Top 60. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  17. ^ "Archive Chart: 1977-09-03" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  18. ^ "Chart Track: Week 1, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  21. ^ "Archive Chart: 2005-01-15" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  22. ^ "Billboard Top 50 - 1957". Billboard. Longbored Surfer. 1957. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  23. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1957". Cash Box Magazine. 1957. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  24. ^ "American single certifications – Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  25. ^ "Jailhouse Rock". Queenpedia.com. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "One Direction's 'Kiss You' Music Video: Look By Look". 
  27. ^ Donkers, Chuck. "Bugs & Friends Sing Elvis - Looney Tunes : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". www.allmusic.com. Ann Arbor, USA: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "Rock de la Carcel by Micro Chips on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Soundcloud.com. 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2014-04-03. 

External links[edit]