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Susie Q (song)

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Single by Dale Hawkins
B-side"Don't Treat Me This Way"
ReleasedMay 1957 (1957-05)[1]
StudioKWKH Radio, Shreveport, Louisiana[2]
Dale Hawkins singles chronology
"Baby Baby"

"Susie Q" is a rockabilly song co-written and performed by American musician Dale Hawkins[4] released in 1957. The song was a commercial success and became a classic of the early rock and roll era, being recorded by many other performers in subsequent years.

Original version[edit]

Hawkins wrote the song with bandmate Robert Chaisson, but when released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records and whose daughter Susan was the inspiration for the song, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles, were credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties.[5]

Hawkins cut "Susie Q" at the KWKH Radio station in Shreveport, Louisiana.[2] "Susie Q" was a late rockabilly song which captured the spirit of Louisiana and featured guitar work by James Burton, who later worked with Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley, among others.[6] Burton has stated on multiple occasions, including on a talk show hosted by former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, that he composed the music to "Susie Q," initially as an instrumental, but was not given a co-writing credit or share of the publishing.[7]

Sometime after the recording, the master tape of "Susie Q" was sold to Checker Records in Chicago, which released it as a 45 RPM single in May 1957.[1][8] The single peaked at numbers 7 and 27 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides[2] and Hot 100 charts, respectively.[9] In Canada, the song reached number 16 in the CHUM Charts.[10]

Hawkins' original version is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll"[11] and in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[12]

Creedence Clearwater Revival version[edit]

"Suzie Q"
Single by Creedence Clearwater Revival
from the album Creedence Clearwater Revival
A-side"Suzie Q" (Part one)
B-side"Suzie Q" (Part two)
ReleasedJune 15, 1968 (1968-06-15)
RecordedJanuary 19, 1968
  • 8:37 (album version)
  • 4:33 (part one)
  • 3:48 (part two)
Producer(s)Saul Zaentz
Creedence Clearwater Revival singles chronology
"Suzie Q"
"I Put a Spell on You"

Creedence Clearwater Revival released a version on their debut album in 1968. The band's only Top 40 hit not written by John Fogerty, it peaked at number 11[18] for one week in November 1968. This song was their first big hit.[19] The album version clocks in at 8:37. The single is split into parts one and two on its A and B sides, respectively. The jam session during the coda is omitted in part one. Instead, it fades out with the guitar solo right before the coda, which fades in with part two on the B-side. Fogerty plays the main riff from "Smokestack Lightning" after the second verse.

Fogerty told Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 that he recorded "Suzie Q" to get the song played on KMPX, a funky progressive-rock radio station in San Francisco, which is why it was extended to eight minutes.[20]

The CCR version of the song was first certified Gold by the RIAA on December 13, 1990, for half a million copies shipped, and Platinum on May 10, 2019, for a million copies in sales and streams.[21]


Chart (1968) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[22] 10
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[23] 27
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 11


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[25] Platinum 1,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other versions[edit]

Ronnie Hawkins, Dale's cousin, released a version of the song in the early 60's with the Hawks, later known as The Band, backing him. King Curtis also played tenor saxophone on the record.

The Rolling Stones[edit]

There is a short cover of "Susie Q" by The Rolling Stones on their US album 12 x 5, which was released in 1964. It also appears on the UK album The Rolling Stones No. 2 released in January 1965.

The Trashmen[edit]

The Trashmen played a live cover of "Susie Q" in 1965 released on the album "Teen Trot: Live At Ellsworth, WI - August 22, 1965". Their vocalist mistakenly attributed the song to The Rolling Stones during stage banter after playing the song.

Johnny Rivers[edit]

Johnny Rivers featured a four-minute version of "Suzie Q" on his live 1965 album Meanwhile Back at the Whisky à Go Go.

Bobby Vee[edit]

Bobby Vee included a version of "Susie Q" on his 1961 Liberty album With Strings and Things.[26]

José Feliciano[edit]

In 1970, Puerto Rican musician José Feliciano released his version of "Susie Q" as a single which reached number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100.[27] His version was rearranged and features several different lyrics.[citation needed]

The Everly Brothers[edit]

The Everly Brothers recorded a medley of "Susie Q" and The Beatles' "Hey Jude" for their 1970 live album The Everly Brothers Show.

Bobby McFerrin[edit]

In 1988, American singer Bobby McFerrin published an all vocal-version of "Susie Q" on his breakthrough album Simple Pleasures. He re-composed all instrumental parts into backing vocals, all sung by himself, and also sang the main part.

Suzi Quatro[edit]

American singer-songwriter Suzi Quatro released two different versions of the song on the albums Oh Suzi and Unreleased Emotion.

Stack Waddy[edit]

Blues band Stack Waddy recorded the song in their record for Dandelion Records, the record company of John Peel.

The Chuck Fenech Band[edit]

The American blues-rock group The Chuck Fenech Band covered the song on their 2011 release Tax Free EP. [28]

Johnny Winter[edit]

Rockpalast concert, 1979


  1. ^ a b "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard. May 6, 1957. p. 69. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits. United States: Record Research/Billboard. p. 236. ISBN 0-8230-8283-0.
  3. ^ King, Ian (November 6, 2018). Appetite for Definition: An A-Z Guide to Rock Genres. Harper Perennial. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-06-268889-7.
  4. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (February 16, 2010). "Dale Hawkins dies at 73; early rock musician wrote 'Susie-Q'". Los Angeles Times. p. AA5.
  5. ^ "Denver Westword - Music - Say That You'll Be True By Marty Jones". Westword.com. October 12, 2000. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
  6. ^ Deelan, Arjan (June 19, 2009). "Interview with James Burton: Elvis Articles - "For Elvis Fans Only" Official Elvis Presley Fan Club". Elvis Australia. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  7. ^ Cad, Saint (July 31, 2012). "Top 10 Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". listverse.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  8. ^ "Dale Hawkins - Billboard Singles". United States: AllMusic. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade - July 1, 1957".
  10. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by Song (Q-S)". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on September 11, 2007.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  12. ^ Hall, Mitchell K. (May 9, 2014). The Emergence of Rock and Roll: Music and the Rise of American Youth Culture. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-135-05358-1.
  13. ^ Bordowitz, Hank (2007). Bad Moon Rising: The Unauthorized History of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Chicago Review Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-56976-984-3.
  14. ^ Doggett, Peter (August 27, 2015). Electric Shock: From the Gramophone to the iPhone – 125 Years of Pop Music. Random House. p. 421. ISBN 978-1-4481-3031-3.
  15. ^ Abjorensen, Norman (May 25, 2017). Historical Dictionary of Popular Music. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-5381-0215-2.
  16. ^ Molanphy, Chris (February 28, 2019). "The Bad Moon on the Rise Edition". Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia (Podcast). Slate. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  17. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben (April 5, 1969). "Creedence C'water At the Hop". Rolling Stone (30): 9. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  18. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 54 - Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll: Getting back to rock's funky, essential essence. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  19. ^ Goldberg, Michael (1993). Wenner, Jann S. (ed.). "Fortunate Son: John Fogerty - The 1993 Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. United States. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – Creedence Clearwater Revival – Susie Q". Recording Industry Association of America.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5807." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  22. ^ "Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Creedence Clearwater Revival Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "American single certifications – Creedence Clearwater Revival – Susie Q". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  25. ^ "Vinyl Album - Bobby Vee - With Strings And Things - Liberty - USA". 45worlds.com.
  26. ^ "José Feliciano - Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  27. ^ Blampain, Gilles. "I love you, My Susie Q!". BluesAgain.com. Retrieved March 9, 2022.

External links[edit]