Twenty Flight Rock
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|"Twenty Flight Rock"|
|Single by Eddie Cochran|
|Recorded||May/August 1957, Gold Star Studios|
|Genre||Rock and roll, rockabilly|
|Eddie Cochran singles chronology|
"Twenty Flight Rock" is a song originally performed by Eddie Cochran in the 1956 film comedy The Girl Can't Help It, and released as a single the following year. The song was published in 1957 as written by Ned Fairchild and Eddie Cochran, by American Music Incorporated and Campbell, Connelly and Company. Cochran's contribution was primarily on the music. His version is rockabilly-flavored, but artists of many genres have covered the song.
The first version of "Twenty Flight Rock" was recorded by Cochran in July 1956 at Gold Star Studios, with Connie Smith on the bull fiddle and Jerry Capehart thumping a soup carton. Cochran re-recorded the song sometime between May to August 1957. This later version was released in the United States (Liberty 55112) with "Cradle Baby" as a flipside. It was a moderate seller, but was more popular in Europe and had steady sales for a long period. The song is from the point of view of a boyfriend whose girlfriend has an apartment on the twentieth floor; the building elevator is not operating; consequently the boyfriend has to climb the stairs, making him too tired to “rock” by the time he reaches her.
The song follows the twelve-bar blues format, using the device of counting upwards ("One flight, two flight, three flight, four/five, six, seven flight, eight flight, more") in the refrain in a manner similar to "Rock Around the Clock". The lyrics end on a surprisingly morbid note relative to other pop music songs of the time.
The barely 15-year-old Paul McCartney used "Twenty Flight Rock" as his first song when he auditioned for John Lennon on July 6, 1957 in Liverpool, England. The 16-year-old Lennon, introduced that day to McCartney at St. Peter's Church Hall prior to a church garden fete, was impressed by his new acquaintance's ability to play the song on the guitar. The good first impression of McCartney's performance led to an invitation to join the Quarrymen—Lennon's band that would eventually evolve into the Beatles. On The Beatles Anthology, McCartney noted that: "I think what impressed him most was that I knew all the words."
Cochran appeared in the film The Girl Can't Help It performing "Twenty Flight Rock" as a tongue-in-cheek example of the supposed lack of talent required to perform rock and roll. The guitar solo was edited out in the movie. The song also featured in the film The Delinquents (1989).
Musicians, 1956 version
Musicians, 1957 version
- Eddie Cochran – guitars, vocals
- Perry Botkin Sr. – rhythm guitar
- Connie "Guybo" Smith – double bass
- The Johnny Mann Chorus – backing vocals
Notable cover versions
- Cliff Richard in 1959.
- Dickie Rock and the Miami Showband released a version on a 7" single in 1964 on Piccadilly Records.
- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen released a version on their 1971 album Lost in the Ozone.
- The Rolling Stones released a version on their 1982 release Still Life. Recorded during the band's American Tour 1981.
- Montrose on their 1975 album Warner Bros. Presents Montrose!
- In 1957, Paul McCartney sang the song for John Lennon when they met for the first time.  He would record a studio version on the 1988 album, CHOBA B CCCP.
- In 1999, German singer Karsten Kohler's band Crazy Cats covered the song on their Time Out album.
- Tiger Army, 1999.
- Jack White performed the song live with Conan O'Brien on the first episode of his TBS talk show Conan.
- Twenty Flight Rock sheet music.
- 1957 Liberty Records 45 label crediting Eddie Cochran as the co-writer. The publishing company is American Music, Inc.
- 1957 UK London Records 45 label crediting Eddie Cochran as the co-writer. The UK publishing company is Campbell, Connelly and Company.
- Philip Norman, John Lennon: The Life, Doubleday Canada, 2008, page 107 (ISBN 978-0-385-66100-3)
- "Dickie Rock And The Miami Showband - From The Candy Store On The Corner To The Chapel On The Hill / Twenty Flight Rock - Piccadilly - UK - 7N 35202". 45cat.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29.