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Jailhouse Rock

4.5 / 5

Words & Music: Jerry Leiber Mike Stoller

The warden threw a party in the county jail.
The prison band was there and they began to wail.
The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing.
You should've heard those knocked out jailbirds sing.
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
Little Joe was blowin' on the slide trombone.
The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang,
the whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang.
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Number forty-seven said to number three:
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company,
come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

The sad sack was a sittin' on a block of stone
way over in the corner weepin' all alone.
The warden said, "Hey, buddy, don't you be no square.
If you can't find a partner use a wooden chair."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Shifty Henry said to Bugs, "For Heaven's sake,
no one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break."
Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said, "Nix nix,
I wanna stick around a while and get my kicks."
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock.
Everybody in the whole cell block
was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock.

Recordingdate: 1957/04/30, first released on: single (album)


Musicians who contributed to the first recording of Jailhouse Rock:



Find available albums with Jailhouse Rock.

Lex wrote on March 19, 2008
There is no video clip that impressed me with its joyful, energetic power like the one for this great rocker.
Natha wrote on April 04, 2008
Amazing to see and hear Elvis perform this great song, one of my super favorites
ElvisDayByDay wrote on April 09, 2008
A classic from the first drumbeats until the fadeout. Who said his moviesongs were of mediocre quality :-)
old shep wrote on April 09, 2008
A great Leiber and Stoller song and didn't he do a great job of the vocals as well as the dance routine for the movie! The only downer was the throw away versions he did in concert, I honestly think he failed to give the number the justice it deserved
OtisBlue22 wrote on April 18, 2008
How could anyone give this song less than 5 stars!!? According to DJ, the drum beat intro was meant to evoke the sound of a chain gang hitting rocks with metal. I hold this to be Elvis' most rockin' vocal performance: savage, ferocious...and that maniacal utterance before Scotty's guitar break? The beast unleashed. Perhaps Elvis knew that since he had this perfect performance captured on record, he didn't need to reproduce it at live concerts. That said, his '68 version is great and the one on Spring Tours '77 isn't too bad either!! As for Lennon's comments about Elvis being castrated when he joined the army, I guess it was with reference to the fact that he never sounded this lewd again. That's not to say that Elvis' best work didn't lay ahead of him. ; )
Steve V wrote on April 18, 2008
This along with Big Hunk O Love are Elvis' best pure rock records. The voice is so blusey & raw. Yes, unfort he never sounded this way again afer the Army , although Elvis IS Back contains some great blues material. Ah, soon the soundtrack LPs would take over.
FLASHBOY wrote on April 19, 2008
Jailhouse rock is the best rock song ever and was done by the Best singer in the world
My boy, my boy wrote on June 29, 2008
Elvis's vocal performance on this one is pure magic. Sounds like the heavy metal from the 50ties.
Ruthie wrote on June 30, 2008
This song is definitely one of his best! I love it, but I get the idea that he didn't care to sing it that much. When I saw him live in Vegas, he did do that song & it was great. Afterwards, he casually mentioned that it often hurt his throat to do it. That may or may not have something to do with it.
JerryNodak wrote on June 30, 2008
I like this song a lot. But my favorite Elvis Rock 'n' Roll song would be "Big Hunk O' Love." "JHR" would be right behind.
NONE000000 wrote on July 06, 2009
An absolute classic, and in many ways the quintessential Elvis Presley song--certainly of the 50s. No one could sing like Elvis. I think John Lennon was shooting for this sound when the Beatles did "Twist and Shout" (and that's a great track too), but Elvis could do just about anything with his voice and make it sound flawless. This song is just about perfect. And, though I prefer King Creole slightly, the movie Jailhouse Rock is one of his best and really captures that "Elvis as rebel" heir to James Dean feeling. If it weren't for the army, followed by GI Blues, who knows how the 60s might have worked out for Elvis....
Deke Rivers 6 wrote on November 06, 2009
Although I love the song, it is over played on the radio, therefore less interesting over the years. I happen to prefer the 68 Come Back Special version. I also love "A Big Hunk 'O Love" more + "Burning Love" get's turned up when played on the radio, love the bass line+Ronnie's cow bell's & of course Elvis' high voice at the end, Not forgetting the piano. 10 star's for all.
Marty_TCE wrote on June 24, 2010
Pure gold and simply iconic. Awesome.
derekd wrote on June 24, 2010
This must have been the song that got me hooked on Elvis. My older brother had bought Teddy Bear & All Shook Up but he didn't buy JH. Instead he took me to see the movie and I loved the JH dance routine. But with Jailhouse Rock being at #1 it seemed to get played on the radio every day. When i started buying records in 1962 Jailhouse Rock was the first single from my back catalog. And I still love it today. This is the real rocking Elvis doin a song as only he could. 5 star plus all the way. I'm dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock, dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock, dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock. Great ending.
1 BILLION SOLD wrote on June 24, 2010
PERFECT, JUST PERFECT!!! Even non Elvis fans, (are there any?), like this song!!
shoesuedeblues wrote on June 24, 2010
Superb, unbeatable. The Elvis I grew up listening to, what a memorable movie moment when Elvis sings this number.
Deano1 wrote on June 24, 2010
This song is the definition of rock and roll.
Mystery Rider wrote on June 24, 2010
Not his best work but in the top 20 I like Mystery Train -Your a Heartbreaker-and alternate version of Treat Me Nice
Marc JB wrote on March 07, 2011
Classic...Leiber&Stoller were the best writers for Elvis in the early days. Why this song is not in the top 20 pisses me off. C'mon everybody!
Pedro Nuno wrote on May 27, 2011
THis Is ELVIS. This is Rock.
dgirl wrote on May 27, 2011
One of the true cornerstones of rock and roll. The original is great, unbeatable. The TV show version is super also but the live versions in a medley leave something to be desired.
GEORGE (GK) wrote on May 27, 2011
Classic song, Classic performance, Classic scene in a movie. Its Elvis "Rocking" and doing it better than anyone else, with an amazing Band and backup singers behind him. This song, still gets people dancing, and appreciating Elvis Presley, so many, years after it was first released on RCA Records. It's in the top 5 of the best Elvis songs !
derekd wrote on May 27, 2011
Released at a time in history when the average single took 4 to 5 weeks to reach #1. Jailhouse Rock shocked the Uk singles charts by coming straight into the charts at #1. And more were to follow.
Gorse wrote on December 07, 2012
One of the truly classic rock songs in the Presley career, known by so many non fans, that finds its way on to every hits collection and stacks of other releases. Yes a huge milestone in his musical journey.
ElvisSacramento wrote on January 22, 2013
This is such a spectacular, iconic, electrifying, unique, catchy, energetic, groovy and fun song and the very best rendition of it is definitely Elvis' smash #1 hit 1957 studio recording. It's one of 24 songs that Elvis recorded that was written by the marvelous and iconic songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
sugartummy wrote on March 29, 2013
It must be impossible for an Elvis impersonator to replicate this voice. Only in 1968 did he sound rougher. Still, this is not my favourite Elvis fifties song by far.
shawnrw wrote on December 21, 2013
Towering, beyond a mere classic, immortal song and performance. Rocks the universe. The movie is not to bad either, the performance scene of this song is iconic.
sugartummy wrote on August 01, 2015
Strangely I start to like this song more
sugartummy wrote on August 01, 2015
Strangely I like this song more and more after 35 or so years. It was never one of my favourites fifties songs, but it's turning into one of them. I'm finally getting the brilliance of the tune!
Jyroflux wrote on August 31, 2015
It doesn't get much better than this. Classic.
Cruiser621 wrote on November 03, 2016
An all time classic, no ifs, ands or butts. The FTD "Jailhouse Rock" CD's-Volume 2, contain all the outtakes of this song and is rather interesting to listen to, more so because of Scotty Moore's solo attempts. I don't care for the medley version when Elvis included it with other older 50's songs; way too rushed and you could tell he wasn't interested.
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