Summertime Blues

Album: The Best Of Eddie Cochran (1958)
Charted: 18 8
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  • Cochran was 19 when he recorded this. It was a big hit with his teenage fans, who could relate to the lyrics about being held back by society (and parents). Cochran got an image as a rebel with a guitar, and his legend was secured when he died two years later while riding in the back of a taxi. He was often compared to James Dean, who was 24 when he died in a car accident.
  • Cochran wrote this with Jerry Capehart, a songwriter who was good friends with Cochran and helped him get a record deal. Capehart explained the inspiration for this song in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 songs issue: "There had been a lot of songs about summer, but none about the hardships of summer." With that idea and a guitar lick from Cochran, they wrote the song in 45 minutes.
  • This was supposed to be the B-side of "Love Again," which was written by 17-year-old Sharon Sheeley. It was clear that this was the bigger hit, but Sheeley eventually became Cochran's girlfriend. She was in the car when it crashed and killed him in 1960.
  • Sheeley provided the hand claps on this. She really wanted to do it, but had trouble getting the rhythm. Eddie helped her out by showing her how to clap.
  • This was Cochran's breakthrough hit. His previous singles didn't do very well, but this gave him a lot of exposure and established him as a star.
  • Cochran's record label were trying to turn him into a crooning teen idol, which was why this was originally going to be B-side to the ballad "Love Again."
  • This song was a big influence on George Harrison. He had a picture of Cochran and wanted the same kind of guitar.
  • Many artists with a rebellious image have recorded this over the years, including Joan Jett, T Rex, The Who, Van Halen and The Stray Cats. Then again, it has also been covered by Olivia Newton-John.
  • When Rush performs this in concert, the crowd sings the lines "No dice son, you gotta work late," "You can't use the car 'cause you didn't work a lick," and "I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Haltom City, TX
  • The Who performed the song as a staple of their concerts from 1967 to 1976, with intermittent appearances thereafter - they played it at Woodstock in 1969. A version from their 1970 album Live at Leeds was released as a single, peaking at #38 in the UK and #27 in the US. It was the only Who hit not written by Pete Townshend.
  • This gets a mention in Stephen King's 1986 novel, It. The song plays on the radio just before Pennywise the evil clown takes over the airwaves to threaten Richie Tozier. The lyrics are also used to introduce "Part 2: June of 1958."
  • This was used in these TV series:

    Vinyl ("Pilot" - 2016)
    The Indian Doctor ("The Arrival" - 2010)
    The Wonder Years ("Summer" - 1993)

    And in these movies:

    Summer Of Sam (1999)
    This Boy's Life (1993)
    That Night (1992)
    La Bamba (1987)
    Troll (1986)
    Caddyshack (1980)
    American Hot Wax (1978)

Comments: 24

  • Julian from TorontoCool structural thing that nobody ever mentions - the bar with the word "Summertime" is only 2 beats long. This springboards us into the next section with the second half of the title ("Blues") falling on the first beat. Like the Beatles' Revolution - third bar 2 beats and a similar concept/effect.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1994 {July 17th} Alan Jackson's covered version of "Summertime Blues" peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles* chart...
    For it's three weeks at #1 it prevented three different records from reaching #1, "Every Once In A While" by Blackhawk, "Thinkin' Problem" by David Ball, and "National Working Woman's Holiday" by Sammy Kershaw all peaked at #2...
    Between 1989 and 2016 the Newnan, Georgia native had eighty eight records on the Hot Country Singles chart, fifty one made the Top 10 with twenty seven reaching #1...
    He had five records peak at #2, "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow" {1990}, "Mercury Blues" {1994}, "Who's Cheating Who?" {1997}, "Between The Devil and Me" {1997}, and "That'd Be Alright" {2002}...
    Seven of his eighty eight charted records were duets, two with Jimmy Buffett, two with George Strait, and one each with George Jones, Jeff Foxworthy, and the Zac Brown Band...
    Alan Eugene Jackson will celebrate his 62nd birthday in three months on October 17th, 2020...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Hot Country Singles' Top 10 on July 17th, 1993:
    At #2. "Every Once In A While" by Blackhawk
    #3. "Foolish Pride" by Travis Tritt
    #4. "I Wish I Could Have Been There" by John Anderson
    #5. "Lifestyles of The Not So Rich & Famous" by Tracy Bird
    #6. "Thinkin' Problem" by David Ball
    #7. "One Night A Day" by Garth Brooks
    #8. "I Take My Chances" by Mary Chapin Carpenter
    #9. "National Working Woman's Holiday" by Sammy Kershaw
    #10. "That's My Baby" by Lari White
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDidn't know Earl Palmer played drums on this song. I think that if Eddie had lived he would have rivaled Elvis.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 18th 1968, Blue Cheer appeared at the first 'Miami Pop Festival'* in Miami, Florida...
    At the time the trio's covered version of "Summertime Blues" was at #16 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; twenty days earlier on April 28th, 1968 it had peaked at #14 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 13 weeks...
    They had one other Top 100 record, "Just A Little Bit"; it entered the chart on June 29th, 1968 for a four week stay, peaking at #92...
    * The festival was produced by Richard O'Barry and Michael Lang; and a year later in 1969 they would promote Woodstock.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"I'm gonna take two weeks
    Gonna have a fine vacation
    I'm gonna take my problem
    To the United Nations"...
    And on December 14th 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish the UN headquarters in New York City.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 10th 1968, Blue Cheer performed "Summertime Blues" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Fifteen days later on February 25th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on April 28th it peaked at #14 (for 1 week) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    Ten years earlier on July 29th, 1958 Eddie Cochran's original version entered Billboard's Top 100 chart; eventually it reached at #8 and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks...
    The Who covered it in 1970; their version peaked at #27 (for 2 weeks) and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    And Springsteen has performed 26 times in concerts; the most recent on July 23rd, 2013 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales...
    R.I.P. Eddie Cochran (1938 - 1960), the Who's drummer Keith Moon (1946 - 1978) and the Who's bassist John Entwistle (1944 - 2002).
  • Madsen from Odense, DenmarkP.J. Harvey uses the line "I'm gonna take my problem to the United Nations " in her song "The Word That Maketh Murder" (What if I take my problem to the United Nations? )
  • Greg from Sacramento, CaI wish this site had more on Blue Cheer.....
  • Larry from Wayne, PaBarry, it doesn't say he saw his congressman in NYC, it says that he called him. This could have been before or after he went to the United Nations.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"I'm gonna take two weeks
    Gonna have a fine vacation
    I'm gonna take my problem
    To the United Nations
    Well I called my congressman" I've always been amused that Eddie found his comgressman in New York City instead of Washington,DC
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhThe cool thing about the Blue Cheer version is that it's both punky and heavy at the same time...that fuzz guitar is sweet...and it's amusing that the song almost hints at the minimalist music form when it goes into the part of the guitar solo that solely consists of slowly ascending notes. Of course, for the record, their version went to #14 on the charts.
  • Jim from Toledo, Ohrush's version rocks
  • Allen from Bethel, AkEddie's and The Who's versions both rock, I belive. Come to think of it, you really compare them, they're to different.
  • Matt from Trenton, CanadaThe Blue Cheer version is considered to be one of the first heavy metal songs.
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaAn early rock god. There was a picture taken in a New York hotel room showing Eddie Cochran shooting the breeze with Buddy Holly and the Everley Brothers. Rock royalty. Only live performance John Lennon went to see was Eddie Cochran. Mark Boland of T Rex speaks with reverence of carring Cochran's guitar case after a concert in England in 1960. Don't talk about Elvis influence in England he never went there it was Holly and Cochran who laid the foundation for what was to follow. With Holly's 1958 tour and Cochran's 1960 shows which sadly he never returned from.
  • Vincent from St. Davids, EnglandThe Who played this at Woodstock, and I think their version is better!
  • Tyler from Hamilton, CanadaBruce Springsteen and the E Street Band covered this many times from 1978 onward.
  • Jim from Acton, MaWell... a long time ago I was going to a Blue Cheer concert at the old Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I arrived late, found a parking spot about 3 blocks away, and could hear Blue Cheer playing. Now that's amplification at its best!
  • Roman from Denver, CoLest we not forget that san francisco band
    BLUE CHEER who reached the top 15 with their
    cover of this song in 1968.
  • Matt from Moose Jaw, CanadaRush does an amazing cover of this on their new album
  • Nick from San Francisco, CaThe Who did a great cover of this on Live at Leeds. Great song.
  • John from Los Angeles, CaCorrection: While Summertime Blues was released by Liberty Records the recording was done at Gold Star studio's on Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.
    Now no longer there, it's a small shopping center today.
  • John from Los Angeles, CaMy good friend Eddie Cochran and his brother Bob wrote Summertime Blues and recorded it at Liberty records in Hollywood. Eddie died on easter sunday in England while being driven to the airport for a trip home to california when his driver lost control of the car. Eddie was largely credited for introducing rock n'roll to the Beatles. George Harrison and John Lennon both told me how they were motivated by attending Eddie's concerts in England before they became a band.
    Perhaps the best rundown on Eddie Cochran can be found at
  • Alaina from Arlington, TxHey Alan Jackson sung this. I thought it was his.
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