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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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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

"Summertime Blues" is a song that The Who covered which was originally from 1958 by Eddie Cochran about the trials and tribulations of teenage life in America.


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 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.

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

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.


Song Related

  • The song was used in the 1980 movie Caddyshack.
  • Various covers of the original song would be produced by bands such as The Beach Boys in 1962, T. Rex in 1970, Rush in 2004, and The Black Keys in 2004.


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