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Elvis SongPedia: Shake Rattle and Roll

Shake Rattle and Roll

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Basic Stats

(Just the facts, ma'am!)

Written by: Charles E. Calhoun (Jesse Stone)

Demo version: January 6 or February 13, 1955, Cotton Club, Lubbock, Texas
Official studio version: February 3, 1956, RCA Studios, New York
Released master is take 13.

Single:w/ "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", 47-6642 (45 RPM) / 20-6642 (78 RPM), August 31, 1956
Also re-released as Gold Standard Series, 447-0615, September 30, 1958

Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
Didn't chart

1st LP release: For LP Fans Only - February 1959
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My Spin

(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)
Big Joe Turner was the first to take a shot at Jesse Stone's "Shake Rattle and Roll", taking it to #2 on Billboard's R&B chart in 1954 and selling over a million. Turner's version is definitive, a slower pace than the others that came later, but still rockin' pretty hard with some suggestive lyrics, an R&B classic!

Bill Haley sped it up, sanitized the lyrics some and released his version the same year, also a million-seller, making it to the top ten of the pop charts.
Elvis first recorded this one at a demo session at the Cotton Club, Lubbock, Texas, on either January 6 or February 13, 1955. This was the same session that produced "Fool, Fool, Fool", and both recordings were released on the '50s box set in 1992. It sounds like a rehearsal or a live recording more than a proper studio effort, though.

The official recording came a year later in his second set of RCA sessions (his first in New York), and on this one the boys are on fire! Shorty Long adds a perfectly executed but energetic piano, bassist Bill Black shouts along with Elvis on the title line, and Scotty's guitar is the archetypical rock-n-roll contribution, not only the signature intro line but the solos, seemingly played by-the-book but sounding vibrant. Although first released on an EP ("Elvis Presley" EPA-830), it was also released in the batch of singles that came out in late August, but didn't make the charts.
Barely a week after recording it, Elvis performed the tune on his national TV debut on the Dorsey Brothers' "Stage Show", this time combining it in a medley with "Flip, Flop and Fly" (also a Jesse Stone tune). It's impossible in hindsight for most of us to appreciate how this appearance affected the TV audience at the time, blasting into the living rooms of safe 1950s America. Adults were bemused and/or alarmed, teenagers were delighted, and things would never be the same again!

Other Spins

(What did the critics and fans say?)

"Shake Rattle and Roll" is a classic performance, which shows Presley's voice barely controlling its explosiveness. Other members of the band join Presley for the title each time it occurs, and the piano provides a major part of the texture. The chunky guitar solo is chordal, betraying the blues roots.

Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music, 1979

Hot stuff, written by Jesse Stone, recorded by Joe Turner in 1954, cleaned up a bit by Bill Haley and the Comets that same year. Elvis' version changed lyrics but comes apart at the seams with vitality.

The Complete Elvis, edited by Martin Torgoff, 1982

Check out other Elvis fans' opinions on the Elvis News page for Shake Rattle and Roll

Check out other opinions at Rate Your Music

"Shake Rattle and Roll" Links

"Shake Rattle and Roll" Lyrics and Downloads

Well get out of that bed, wash your face and hands
Get out of that bed, wash your face and hands
Well get in that kitchen, make some noise with the pots and pans
I believe to my soul you're the devil in nylon hose
I believe to my soul you're the devil in nylon hose
For the harder I work the faster my money goes

Well I said shake, rattle and roll
I said shake rattle and roll
I said shake rattle and roll
I said shake rattle and roll
Well you won't do right
To save your doggone soul

I'm like a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store
I'm like a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store
Well I can look at you, tell you ain't no child no more
I believe you're doing me wrong and now I know
I believe you're doing me wrong and now I know
'Cause the harder I work the faster my money goes

[Repeat Chorus]

I went over the hill, way down underneath
I went over the hill, way down underneath
You make me roll my eyes
And then you make me grit my teeth

[Repeat Chorus]
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Shake, Rattle & Roll karaoke - Elvis PresleyShake, Rattle & Roll
Elvis Presley

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What's YOUR Spin on "Shake Rattle and Roll"?
Yea or Nay?

Yea! Great '50s Rocker!

Nay! Makes Me Roll My Eyes and Grit My Teeth!

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Elvis song reference books on Amazon!

Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)