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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 first released as a 45rpm single on September 24, 1957, to coincide with the release of Presley's motion picture, Jailhouse Rock. Composer Mike Stoller can be seen playing piano in the film presentation of the song.

The song as sung by Elvis Presley is #67 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Releases and chart performance

The single, with its B-side "Treat Me Nice," was a US #1 hit for 7 weeks in the fall of 1957, and a UK #1 hit for three weeks early in 1958. in addition "Jailhouse Rock" spent one week at the top of the country charts .

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 " Baby I Don't Care." It topped the Billboard EP charts, eventually selling an additional two million copies and earning another double-platinum RIAA certification.

In 2005, the song was re-released in the UK and reached #1 for a single week. The song, which is an example of simple verse form, eventually sold four million copies in the US, thus earning a Double Platinum certification by the RIAA.

Characters and themes

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

As noted by Rolling Stone magazine parts of the lyrics in which the prisoners flirt and dance with one another may be hinting at homosexual relationships between inmates.

Covers and references

"Jailhouse Rock" was performed regularly in a medley along with many old rock and roll hits by Queen 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 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 Germanmarker 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 Festivalmarker in August of 1969.

"Jailhouse Rock" has also been recorded by:

Notes




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