500 Greatest Songs of All Time

67

Elvis Presley, 'Jailhouse Rock'

Writers: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Producer: Steve Sholes
Released: Oct. '57, RCA 
27 weeks, No. 1

Songwriters Leiber and Stoller had already penned a couple of Presley hits — most notably "Hound Dog," picked up from blues belter Big Mama Thornton — but the theme song for Presley's third movie was the duo's first studio collaboration with the young superstar. "Jailhouse Rock" was decidedly silly, the kind of tongue-in-cheek narrative goof they had been coming up with for the Coasters. The King, however, sang it as straight rock & roll, overlooking the humor in the lyrics (like the suggestion of gay romance when inmate Number 47 tells Number 3, "You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see") and introducing Scotty Moore's guitar solo with a cry so intense that the take almost collapses.

Appears on: Elvis 30 #1 Hits (RCA) 

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