I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold song)

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"I Wish You Would"
I Wish You Would single cover.jpg
Single by Billy Boy a.k.a. Billy Boy Arnold
B-side "I Was Fooled"
Released June 1955 (1955-06)[1]
Format 10-inch 78 rpm & 7-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded Universal Recording Studios, Chicago
May 5, 1955[1]
Genre Blues
Length 2:55
Label Vee-Jay (no. 146)
Songwriter(s) Billy Boy Arnold
Billy Boy Arnold singles chronology
"I Ain't Got No Mone"
"I Wish You Would"
"I Ain't Got You"

"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"
  • May 1, 1964 (1964-05-01) (UK)
  • August 7, 1964 (US)
Format 7-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded February 1964
Studio Olympic, London[5]
Genre Blues rock
Length 2:19
Songwriter(s) Billy Boy Arnold
Producer(s) Giorgio Gomelsky
The Yardbirds UK singles chronology
"I Wish You Would"
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"
The Yardbirds US singles chronology
"I Wish You Would"
"For Your Love"

English rock band the Yardbirds recorded "I Wish You Would" for 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 the UK or US, but was later released on the Yardbirds' first American album, For Your Love, which reached number 96 in Billboard's Top LPs chart in 1965.

The original US release marked the first of several printing errors made by the Yardbirds' US label, Epic Records. 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.

Recordings by other artists[edit]

A variety of artists have recorded "I Wish You Would", including John Hammond (1966 I Can Tell), Canned Heat (1969 Live at Topanga Corral released 1971), David Bowie (1973 Pin Ups), Hot Tuna (1976 Hoppkorv), Sweet (1982 Identity Crisis), the Red Devils (1992 King King), Dex Romweber Duo (2011 Is That You in the Blue?), and Tom Jones (2015 Long Lost Suitcase).


  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). "Billy Boy Arnold". In Erlewine, Michael. All Music Guide to the Blues. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-87930-424-3. 
  3. ^ Morris, Chris (April 14, 2001). "Declaration of Independents". Billboard. 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.