Johnny Cash – Cry! Cry! Cry!

No one crosses genres like Johnny Cash. I’ve seen rockers, heavy metal, and country fans like Johnny.

After Cash returned home from the Air Force and signed with Sun Records, he gave Sam Phillips the song “Hey Porter.” Phillips asked for a ballad for the B-side, so Cash went home and quickly wrote “Cry! Cry! Cry!” literally overnight. It became his first big hit.

“Cry! Cry! Cry!” was released and sold over 100,000 copies. The song was originally released in 1955 and reached #14 in the charts at the time. This song was the B side to Hey Porter.

Elvis Costello did a fantastic cover of this song in 1982 as the B side to I’m Your Toy. 

 

Cry! Cry! Cry!

Everybody knows where you go when the sun goes down.
I think you only live to see the lights uptown.
I wasted my time when I would try, try, try.
‘Cause when the lights have lost their glow, you’ll cry, cry, cry.

Soon your sugar-daddies will all be gone.
You’ll wake up some cold day and find you’re alone.
You’ll call for me but I’m gonna tell you: “Bye, bye, bye, “
When I turn around and walk away, you’ll cry, cry, cry,

You’re gonna cry, cry, cry and you’ll cry alone,
When everyone’s forgotten and you’re left on your own.
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry.

I lie awake at night to wait ’til you come in
You stay a little while and then you’re gone again
Every question that I ask, I get a lie, lie, lie
For every lie you tell, you’re gonna cry, cry, cry

When your fickle love gets old, no one will care for you.
Then you’ll come back to me for a little love that’s true.
I’ll tell you no and then you’ll ask me why, why, why?
When I remind you of all of this, you’ll cry, cry, cry.

You’re gonna cry, cry, cry and you’ll want me then,
It’ll hurt when you think of the fool you’ve been.
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry.

 

 

Chuck Berry – Maybellene

Chuck Berry was THE first guitar hero in Rock and Roll. He was also rock’s first poet. This song evolved out of “Ida Red,” a hillbilly song by Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys from the early ’50s. Berry heard that song on the Country radio station KMOX in St. Louis but didn’t know who recorded it.

Not only is the music great with the steady beat… but those lyrics. The motor cooled down the heat went down, And that’s when I heard that highway sound, the Cadillac a-sittin’ like a ton of lead, a hundred and ten half a mile ahead, the Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still, and I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill

You can see what is happening in the song in your head with no problem… no MTV story video needed. He was one of the best descriptive lyricist rock and roll has ever had.

The song made it to #5 in the Billboard Pop Chart in 1955.

 

From Songfacts

Berry had never recorded, but when he went to Chicago to see Muddy Waters perform, he stayed in town to pitch himself to Leonard Chess of Chess Records, who asked him to come back the next week with some original songs. Berry returned with his bandmates Johnnie Johnson (piano) and Eddie Hardy (drums), and a demo reel with four songs, including “Ida Mae.” That’s the one Leonard Chess liked best, but he asked Berry to change so there wouldn’t be any confusion with “Ida Red” and to fend off any copyright claims. Berry changed the lyrics, turning it into a song about fast cars – one of his favorite topics. It was the first song the band recorded, and it proved a challenge: they recorded 36 takes.

This song tells the story of a girl who keeps cheating on her man. Various cars appear in the lyrics; Berry sings about chasing Maybellene in his V8 Ford while she drag races a man in a Cadillac with her Coupe de Ville.

There are a few different stories floating around about how the song got its name. Berry has said that Maybellene was the name of a cow in child’s nursery rhyme, but Johnnie Johnson recalled that there was a box of Maybellene mascara in the office, which gave Leonard Chess the idea for the title.

Chess Records gave the disc jockey Alan Freed a cowriting credit on this song (and also some cash) in exchange for playing it on the radio. Deals like this led to the Payola scandals, which led to rules prohibiting record companies from paying DJs to play their songs. Marshall Chess, the son of Chess founder Leonard Chess, recalled to The Independent newspaper May 27, 2008: “He [Freed] played the hell out of Chuck’s first record, ‘Maybellene’, because of that. My father says he made the deal, and by the time he got to Pittsburgh, which was half a day’s drive away, my uncle back at home was screaming, ‘What’s happening? We’re getting all these calls for thousands of records!'”

Deals like this were perfectly legal and fairly common at the time, but when the government took action in 1959, Freed refused to admit to taking Payola, insisting he was acting as a consultant to the music industry. Holding steadfast to this position, the radio and TV stations he worked for fired him, and his career never recovered. In contrast, Dick Clark admitted to taking cash and gifts, and simply stopped doing so when it was declared illegal. He was able to grow his media empire considerably after the scandal.

Berry was 29 years old when he recorded this song, but he knew that his audience was teenagers, so he wrote the song to appeal to that crowd – the ones fascinated with cars and experiencing young love. Berry also took care to sing it as clearly as possible so it would have more crossover appeal with a white audience. His strategy worked: the song went to #1 on the R&B chart and also made #5 on the Pop chart.

Chuck Berry was a rock and roll original, but he didn’t consider this a rock song. Said Berry: “‘Maybellene’ was very much a country song, with country lyrics. Maybe a little faster but basically it was country.”

Soon after this was released, Elvis Presley started performing it at some of his live appearances. Many other artists also recognized its propulsive appeal and covered the song. British acts – notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – often recorded Berry’s songs, but the UK act that grabbed this one was Gerry and the Pacemakers, who included it on their 1963 debut album How Do You Like It?

Other artists to cover the song include George Jones, The Searchers, Jerry Lee Lewis and Foghat.

The B-Side of the single was a slow blues song called “Wee Wee Hours.”

One-third of the composing credit went to Russ Fratto for the sole purpose of making sure that Berry got more royalties than Alan Freed (Fratto was a local DJ who was a close friend of Berry’s). He agreed to give Berry his share. In those days, it was common to give Freed a composer credit in exchange for airplay on his show. Freed would get royalties, and the song would become a hit.

A version by Johnny Rivers reached #12 in the US in 1964.

Later in 1955, Fats Domino released his own song with a three-syllable girl in the title: “I Can’t Go On (Rosalie).”

Berry died in 2017, the same year Fats Domino passed away. Jon Batiste and Gary Clark, Jr. paid tribute at the Grammy Awards in 2018 by performing “Maybellene” and “Ain’t That A Shame.”

 

Maybellene

Maybellene, why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Mabellene in a Coup de Ville
A Cadillac arollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

The Cadillac pulled up ahead of the Ford
The Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for a passin’ lane
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I know that I was doin’ my motor good
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

Oh, Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

The motor cooled down the heat went down
And that’s when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac a sittin’ like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile ahead The Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still
And I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

Songs That Were Banned: Everly Brothers – Wake Up Little Suzie

The lines “We both fell sound asleep / Wake up, little Suzie, and weep / The movie’s over, it’s four o’clock / And we’re in trouble deep” were suggestive enough to cause the song to be banned by several radio stations. Although it’s pretty clear the Suzie and her date were at the movies but that didn’t matter.

As with the case of other songs being banned…it only made it more appealing to teenagers at the time. The song peaked at #1 in Billboard and #2 in the UK in 1957.

This was written by the husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote most of The Everly Brothers songs in the ’50s. Their songs were also recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis, and Buddy Holly.

From Songfacts

This is about a young couple who fall asleep at the drive-in, realize they are out past curfew, and make up a story to tell Susie’s parents.

Some Boston radio stations banned this because of the lyrics, which imply that the young couple spent the night together. At the time, staying out late with a girl was a little controversial.

For The Everly Brothers, this was the first of four US #1 hits. It also went to #1 on the Country & Western charts.

At an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show while campaigning for President in year 2000, George W. Bush was asked by Oprah what his favorite song was. He said: “Wake Up Little Susie – by Buddy Holly.”

Simon & Garfunkel played this at their 1981 concert in Central Park. The live recording was released as a single the next year and hit #27 in the US.

Chet Atkins played guitar on this. Atkins, who died of cancer in 2001, was a Nashville musician who created a distinctive sound using a three-fingered picking technique.

This was a labor of love for the songwriting duo. “We persevered with ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ for many hours,” Boudleaux recalled to Country Music People. “I started writing one night, kept trying to get my ideas down, but it just wouldn’t happen. Finally I woke Felice, who took one listen to what I had so far achieved and came up with the final touches that I couldn’t get. The Everlys liked the song, but like me had problems with getting it right in the studio. They worked a whole three-hour session on that one song and had to give up, they just couldn’t get it right. We all trooped back to the studio the next day and got it down first take. That’s the way it happens sometimes.”

Wake Up Little Susie

Wake up, little Susie, wake up
Wake up, little Susie, wake up
we’ve both been sound asleep, wake up, little Susie, and weep
The movie’s over, it’s four o’clock, and we’re in trouble deep
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, well

Whatta we gonna tell your mama
Whatta we gonna tell your pa
Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say ?ooh-la-la?
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, well

I told your mama that you’d be in by ten
Well Susie baby looks like we goofed again
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, we gotta go home

Wake up, little Susie, wake up
Wake up, little Susie, wake up
The movie wasn’t so hot, it didn’t have much of a plot
We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, well

Whatta we gonna tell your mama
Whatta we gonna tell your pa
Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say “ooh-la-la”
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie

 

The Isley Brothers – Shout

First time I heard this song was in the brilliant comedy Animal House by the fictional group Otis Day and the Knights. The movie was such a big hit that many people thought Otis Day And The Knights were a real group, so they went on tour. They did very well, selling out many of the places they played and released an album in 1989 called Shout. Otis Day’s real name is DeWayne Jessie.

This song was recorded in its first take during the studio session. Shout was never a big chart success (#47), but it sold over a million copies and became a rock and R&B classic. The Isley Brothers bought their mother a house in New Jersey with the proceeds from this. She was living in Cincinnati.

After Shout got some attention, RCA records signed the Isleys to a record deal despite concerns that people would not understand what they were singing.

From Songfacts

The Isleys wrote this on the spur of the moment at a Washington, DC, concert in mid-1959. As they performed Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” Ronald Isley ad-libbed, “WELLLLLLLLLLL… you know you make me want to SHOUT” and Rudy and O’Kelly joined in on the improvisation. The audience went wild and afterwards, RCA executive Howard Bloom suggested putting it out as their first RCA single. >>

This evolved out of the call-and-response style The Isleys grew up singing in church. The organist from their church, Professor Herman Stephens, played on the song.

The Isley Brothers did not consider this a song at first. It was just a “thing” they would do onstage and the crowd would go nuts. They knew they were onto something when Jackie Wilson, who they were opening for, started using the stop-and-go style in his show.

This song has its own dance. When The Isleys sing the “little bit softer now” part, you go a little lower, then gradually rise up for the “little bit louder now part.” For the rest of the song, you just jump around and go crazy. It’s an easy dance, which makes it popular at weddings, proms, and other events where many rhythmically-challenged people end up on the dance floor.

The 1978 movie Animal House featured this in a famous scene where the frat brothers danced to it. The movie starred John Belushi and became a classic, helping revive interest in the song as well as the dance associated with it. In 2003, the group MxPx recorded a new version for the 25th anniversary DVD release of the movie.

In the UK, this is the song that introduced the singing sensation Lulu. The Scottish singer came to London at age 15 and recorded a version of the song with her group Lulu & The Luvvers that made it to #7 on the UK charts. Early on, Lulu often performed in Blues clubs where the song was a great fit. She soon became a very successful actress as well, appearing in the film To Sir With Love and scoring a #1 US hit with the title track.

Lulu, just 13 at the time, was introduced to the song by the Scottish rocker Alex Harvey, who she saw perform it in a Glasgow club called The Scene. Lulu added it to her act with The Luvvers, and it became their first hit when Lulu sang it at an audition for Decca records. She had a terrible cold when she recorded it, which gave her a rougher sound that suited the song.

The Isleys developed this on tours of black theaters in the late ’50s. They were usually low on the bill with other R&B acts.

The B-side of the single was “Shout Part 2,” an even wilder version.

The Isley Brothers next 4 singles tanked. They did not have another hit until “Twist And Shout” in 1962.

A cover version by Joey Dee And The Starlighters was a US Top 10 hit in 1962.

Shout

Well

You know you make me wanna (Shout!)
Kick my heels up and (Shout!)
Throw my hands up and (Shout!)
Throw my head back and (Shout!)
Come on now (Shout!)

Don’t forget to say you will
Don’t forget to say, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(Say you will)
Say it right now baby
(Say you will)
Come on, come on
(Say you will)
Say it, will-a you
(Say you will)
Come on now!

(Say) say that you love me
(Say) say that you need me
(Say) say that you want me
(Say) you wanna please me
(Say) come on now
(Say) come on now
(Say) come on now

(Say) I still remember
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop-wop-wop-wop)
When you used to be nine years old
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop-wop-wop-wop)
Yeah yeah!
I was a fool for you, from the bottom of my soul, yeah!
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop-wop-wop-wop)
Now that you’ve grown, up
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop-wop-wop-wop)
Enough to know, yeah yeah
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop-wop-wop-wop)
You wanna leave me, you wanna, let me go
(Shooby-doo-wop-do-wop)

I want you to know
I said I want you to know right now, yeah!
You been good to me baby
Better than I been to myself, hey! hey!
And if you ever leave me
I don’t want nobody else, hey! hey!
I said I want you to know-ho-ho-hey!
I said I want you to know right now, hey! hey!

You know you make me wanna
(Shout-woo) hey-yeah
(Shout-woo) yeah-yeah-yeah
(Shout-woo) all-right
(Shout-woo) all-right
(Shout-woo) come on now!
(Shout) come on now!
(Shout) yeah, yeah, yeah
(Shout) yeah, yeah, yeah (good sound)
(Shout) yeah, yeah, yeah (good sound)
(Shout) yeah, yeah, yeah (good sound)
(Shout) all-alright (good sound)
(Shout) it’s all-alright (good sound)
(Shout) all-alright (good sound)
(Shout) all-alright (aah)

Now wait a minute!
I feel alright!
(Yeah yeah, yeah yeah!)
Now that I got my woman
I feel alright!
Every time I think about you
You been so good to me
You know you make me wanna
(Shout-woo) lift my heels up and
(Shout-woo) throw my head back and
(Shout-woo) kick my heels up and
(Shout-woo) come on now
(Shout-woo) take it easy
(Shout-woo) take it easy
(Shout-woo) take it easy (higher)
(Shout) a little bit softer now (woo)
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now
(Shout) a little bit softer now

(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now
(Shout) a little bit louder now

(Shout)
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!
Hey!

Shout now!
Jump up and shout now (woo)
Jump up and shout now (woo)
Jump up and shout now (woo)
Jump up and shout now (woo)
Jump up and shout now (woo)

Everybody shout now
Everybody shout now
Everybody, shout, shout
Shout, shout, shout

Buddy Holly – Blue Days Black Nights

This is a Holly song that you don’t hear much and has been a favorite of mine. The sessions didn’t go the way that Buddy would have liked. His songs had more of a country feel than Holly would have liked.

I really like the rockabilly guitar played by Sonny Curtis.  It was recorded at Bradley’s Barn in Nashville Tn in January 26, 1956.

This was Buddy Holly’s first single in April 1956, “Blue Days, Black Nights” was not a Buddy Holly composition; it was written by Ben Hall. The song was the B side to Love Me.

Due to a misspelling on Holly’s recording contract, his name was changed from Holley to Holly. This release is the first to use this spelling, He would go with that spelling the rest of his career.

 

Blue Days Black Nights

Blue days, black nights
Blue tears keep on fallin’, for you dear
Now you’re gone
Blue days, black nights
My heart keeps on calling for you dear
And you alone

Memories of you make me sorry
I gave you reason to doubt me
But now you’re gone and I am left here all alone
With blue memories, I think of you

 

Blue days, black nights
I didn’t realize I would miss you
The way I do
And now somehow I know I will pay
For the times I have made you blue

Buddy Holly – Peggy Sue

Probably Buddy’s most well-known song. Hope you enjoyed the four songs by Buddy this weekend.

Holly wrote this about Peggy Sue Gerron, who was dating Holly’s drummer with The Crickets, Jerry Allison. Holly was not involved with Peggy Sue but liked the name for the song. Allison and Peggy Sue eventually got married but divorced nine years later.

At first, Holly was going to call this “Cindy Lou.” Jerry Allison asked if the name could be changed as a favor to him. It probably wouldn’t be heard outside of Lubbock, Texas anyway and it would really mean some brownie points for Jerry. Buddy had no problem with the name change.

Image result for peggy sue gerron

Before he died Buddy wrote a sequel to this song that I covered a few weeks ago called  Peggy Sue Got Married. Peggy Sue passed away in 2018.

The song peaked at #3 in the US, #6 in the UK and #4 in Canada. Peggy Sue was written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty, and originally performed, recorded and released as a single by Holly in early July of 1957. The song is ranked #194 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

 

From Songfacts

This was the first hit credited to Holly without his backing band, The Crickets. The Crickets did play on this, but Holly’s songs were released on one of two labels, Coral Records crediting him as a solo artist and Brunswick with The Crickets. Both labels were owned by Decca Records.

Allison had trouble keeping the right beat when they recorded this. The song had been written in Cha-Cha time. The engineer came on the mike and told Jerry: “If you don’t get it right in the next take we’re gonna change the name back to Cindy Lou.” Jerry thought the guy might not be kidding so he asked for a few more minutes to “go through some exercises.” He did just that. As he was going through the “new” warm-up, the beat to the song was changed from Cha-Cha to Jerry’s new beat that was merely a part of his warm up routine for the high school band. Buddy began to change the guitar licks to fit the beat and the new rhythm developed right there on the spot.

“Peggy Sue” has been mentioned in they lyrics to several other songs, including “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin and “Barbara Ann” by The Regents and later by The Beach Boys.

This song was a big influence on Tommy Roe’s 1962 #1 hit “Sheila.”

Holly wrote a sequel to this called “Peggy Sue Got Married,” which was released on a compilation album after he died. It inspired the 1986 movie Peggy Sue Got Married starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. >>

On September 8, 2001, 48,000 people in Lubbock, Texas, tried to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by singing this at the Texas Tech-New Mexico football game. Horn-rimmed glasses like Holly used to wear were distributed to get them in the mood. The day before the game is when Holly would have turned 65.

Peggy Sue

If you knew Peggy Sue
Then you’d know why I feel blue without Peggy
My Peggy Sue
Oh well, I love you gal, yes, I love you Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue
Oh how my heart yearns for you
Oh Peggy, my Peggy Sue
Oh well, I love you gal, yes, I love you Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue
Oh Peggy, my Peggy Sue
Oh well, I love you gal and I need you Peggy Sue

I love you Peggy Sue
With a love so rare and true
Oh Peggy, my Peggy Sue
Well I love you gal, I want you Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue
Oh Peggy, my Peggy Sue
Oh well, I love you gal yes I need you Peggy Sue

I love you Peggy Sue
With a love so rare and true
Oh Peggy, my Peggy Sue
Oh well I love you gal, and I want you Peggy Sue
Oh well, I love you gal and I want you Peggy Sue

Buddy Holly – True Love Ways

This beautiful song was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty.. recorded with the Ray Ellis orchestra on October 21, 1958. Holly wrote “True Love Ways” for his wife, Maria Elena Holly, as a wedding gift.

True Love Ways was not released until March 1960, after Buddy Holly’s tragic death, when it was included on the album, The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2, on the Coral label. The song’s melody was inspired by one of Buddy’s favorite black gospel hymns, “I’ll Be Alright,” which was recorded by The Angelic Gospel Singers.

The song peaked at #25 in the UK in 1960…it also recharted in the UK at #10 in 2018.

From Songfacts

This was co-written by Buddy and Norman Petty and recorded in October 1958. Petty was Buddy Holly’s first producer and owned the studio in Clovis, New Mexico where all of Buddy’s first recordings were made (Lubbock did not have a recording studio at the time).

This and “It Doesn’t Matter Any More” were Buddy’s first recordings to use orchestral string arrangements, which accentuated his vocal mannerisms. The strings were arranged by Dick Jacobs. 

Notable covers include versions by Mickey Gilley, Peter & Gordon, and The Royal Philharmonic.

This wasn’t released until after Holly’s death in 1959. After he died in a plane crash, the album The Buddy Holly Story was released, which contained many of his early hits. This album came out a few months later and included many of his lesser-known or never released songs.

True Love Ways

Just you know why
Why you and I
Will bye and bye
Know true love ways

Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And we’ll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways

Throughout the days
Our true love ways
Will bring us joys to share
With those who really care

Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And we’ll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways

Throughout the days
Our true love ways
Will bring us joys to share
With those who really care

Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And we’ll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways