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"Summertime Blues" is a 1958 song recorded by Eddie Cochran about the trials and tribulations of teenage life inAmerica.

It was written in the late 1950s by Eddie Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. Originally a single B-side, it peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1958 and #18 on the UK Singles Chart. The handclapping is performed by Sharon Sheeley, and the deep vocals at the end of each verse are done by Cochran. The drummer on that recording date was Earl Palmer.

The song was used in the 1980 movie Caddyshack. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at #77 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

The song is ranked #73 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Part of its lyrics address the controversy surrounding the voting age, which at the time was 21. Such protests would lead to the 26th Amendment, lowering the age to 18.

Cover versions[]

Beach Boys' version[]

The Beach Boys's version appears on their 1962 album Surfin' Safari.

The Who's version[]

Summertime Blues
The Who
Live at Leeds.png
Live at Leeds
Year 1970
Genre Classic Rock
Language English
Source Downloadable song
Rating RaitingFF.png Family Friendly
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Lego Rock Band
Band 4Fcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngUFCirlce.png
Basic Pro
Guitar 2Fcircle.pngFcircle.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.png NoNo Part
Bass 3Fcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.png NoNo Part
Drums 5Fcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.png 5Fcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.pngFcircle.png
Keys NoNo Part NoNo Part
Vocals 1Fcircle.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.png 1Fcircle.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.pngUFCirlce.png
Male singer
Guitar solo
Vocal solo
Vocal tambourine
2-part harmonies

The Who played "Summertime Blues" as a staple of their concerts from 1967 up to 1976, with intermittent appearances thereafter. It has not been played since bassist John Entwistle's death in 2002. It was performed during the 1967 U.S. tour, including a June 1967 date at the Monterey Pop Festival, where the members of Blue Cheer were in attendance. The Who's version is done in a more aggressive style than the Eddie Cochran original. It is played in the key of A major and on the 3rd verse modulates up to B major.

The first version to be released by The Who appeared on the 1970 album Live at Leeds. The single peaked at number 37 in the UK and number 28 in the US. Most of the Who performances feature John Entwistle singing the vocal parts of the boss, the father, and the congressman in his trademark baritone growl, doubling Roger Daltrey's lead vocals in his normal voice in the verses, and singing the falsetto part in the chorus.

The Who recorded a studio version of this track in London on June 28, 1967, just after the Monterey performance. This was left unreleased until 1998 when it appeared on the remastered CD of Odds & Sods. Other live versions from The Who are featured in the Monterey Pop Festival CD box set and the concert and documentary film Woodstock (1969), as well as Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 and the CD release of Live at the Royal Albert Hall.



Blue Cheer's version[]

Blue Cheer recorded it for their 1968 album Vincebus Eruptum. Their version, which omits all of the response lyrics heard in Cochran's version in favor of instrumental responses by each member of the band, was featured as one of the first heavy metal recordings in the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey.

During the '80s MTV played a black & white video for the song, taken from a TV program, in their Closet Classicssegment. The song was also featured in the 1986 movie Troll and the 1991 movie Night on Earth and the 1996 movie I Shot Andy Warhol.

Olivia Newton John's version[]

On her Clearly Love album, 1975.

T. Rex's version[]

Originally released as a B-side to their 1970 hit, "Ride A White Swan". It has since been added as a bonus track on a re-release of their self-titled album, T. Rex (also originally released in 1970).

Flying Lizards' version[]

The Flying Lizards released a postmodern cover version as a single in 1978, which was included it on their 1979 album, The Flying Lizards.

Brian Setzer version[]

Played by Setzer on the La Bamba soundtrack (and on the film in which he performs as Eddie Cochran). Another version appears on Rockin' by Myself, released in 1998.

Cheech Marin's version[]

Nathan Cavaleri's version[]

Alan Jackson's version[]

"Summertime Blues"
Single by Alan Jackson
from the album Who I Am
B-side "Hole in the Wall"
Released July 4, 1994[1]
Format CD Single
Recorded January 11, 1994[2]
Genre Country
Length 3:13 (album version)
Label Arista Nashville
Producer Keith Stegall
Alan Jackson singles chronology
"(Who Says) You Can't Have It All"
"Summertime Blues"
"Livin' on Love"

While so many versions of this song have been recorded, Alan was inspired by Buck Owens' version.[2]

Music Video[]

The video was directed by Michael Salomon and was released in June 1994.

Chart positions[]

Chart (1994)[2] Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 4
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Preceded by

"Foolish Pride"
by Travis Tritt

Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks

number-one single (Alan Jackson version) July 23-August 6, 1994

Succeeded by

"Be My Baby Tonight"
by John Michael Montgomery

Preceded by

"Thinkin' Problem"
by David Ball

RPM Country Tracks
number-one single (Alan Jackson version)

August 1-August 8, 1994

Succeeded by

"The Other Side"
by Charlie Major

Gary Allan's version[]

Rush's version[]

"Summertime Blues"
Single by Rush
from the album Feedback
Released May 21, 2004[3]
Format Promo CD
Genre Rock
Length 3:52
Anthem (CAN)

Atlantic Records(US)

Producer Rush & David Leonard
Rush singles chronology
"Secret Touch"
"Summertime Blues"
"Far Cry"
  • Like the Blue Cheer version, the line "I'd like to help you son..." is not spoken.
  • Played as the theme song for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s SummerSlam pay per view in 2004.
  • In A major like the Who's version (3rd verse likewise modulates up to B major), but guitar intro is that of the Blue Cheer version, transposed to fit new key

The Black Keys' version[]

The Chuck Fenech Band's version[]

  • First song on their 2010 Demo.


  1. ^ Alan Jackson Discography at LP link
  2. ^ a b (1995) Album notes for The Greatest Hits Collection by Alan Jackson [CD]. Arista Records (07822 18801).
  3. ^