Lonnie Donegan – Jack O’ Diamonds

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Jack/John.

While America was Rockin England was listening to Skiffle. Lonnie Donegan was known as the King of Skiffle. He influenced bands like the Beatles and members of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page was in a Skiffle band when he was only 14. The song reached #14 on UK’s singles chart in 1957. The song was originally recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1926 and covered by numerous artists.

 

Jack O’ Diamonds

Jack O’Diamonds, one-eyed knave
On the move, hits the street
Bumps his head, on the ground
Well, he’s a scout, you’re born to lose
Shouldn’t stay Jack O’Diamonds is a hard card
To play Jack O’Diamonds, yeah Jack O’Diamonds
This one-eyed prince, wears a single love
Oh sure, he’s not that lovely
Jack O’Diamonds broke my hand
Left me here to stand Jack O’Diamonds is a
Hard card to land Jack O’Diamonds is a hard card
Jack O’Diamonds is a high card
Jack O’Diamonds is a hard card
But it ain’t hard enough Jack O’Diamonds can open for riches
Jack O’Diamonds but then it switches
Colour by picture but it’s only a ten Jack O’Diamonds,
Yeah Jack O’Diamonds Jack O’Diamonds is a hard
Card to play Jack O’Diamonds, yeah Jack O’Diamonds
This one-eyed prince, wears a single love
Oh sure, he’s not that lovely
Jack O’Diamonds broke my hand
Left me here to stand Jack O’Diamonds is a
Hard card to play Jack O’Diamonds is a hard card
Jack O’Diamonds is a high card
Jack O’Diamonds is a hard card
But it ain’t hard enough Jack O’Diamonds can open for riches
Jack O’Diamonds but then it switches
Colour by picture but it’s only a ten
Jack O’Diamonds

The Youngsters – Christmas In Jail

I thought I would get a little demented this Christmas. Of course, the song never charted but was played on the Dr. Demento show and is also played on The Bob and Tom show. The song was released in October of 1956.

Christmas In Jail

Christmas in jail
Christmas in jail
Had a little too much to drink
Ain’t got no bail
Ain’t got no bail
And spendin’ New Year’s Eve in the clink.

I was in the wrong lane
Feelin’ no pain
Zoomed my car to seventy-five
Ran right into
You can guess who
And say I’m lucky to be alive.

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!

They’re singin’ down the street
While everybody’s havin’ Christmas turkey
They give me bread and water to eat.

Christmas in jail
Christmas in jail
Wore my shoes out pacin’ the floor
Got rocks in my head
I wish I was dead
Ain’t gonna drink and drive no more.

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!

They’re singin’ down the street
While everybody’s havin’ Christmas turkey
They give me bread and water to eat.

Christmas in jail
Christmas in jail
Wore my shoes out pacin’ the floor
Got rocks in my head
I wish I was dead
Ain’t gonna drink and drive no more
Ain’t gonna drink and drive no more
Ain’t gonna drink and drive no more.

Merry Christmas!
Hic! Hic! Hic!

Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock

The song was recorded in October of 1957 at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, TN. It peaked at #6 on Billboards Best Sellers chart and #13 on Billboards Most Played C&W by Jockeys chart.

More from Wikipedia.

“Jingle Bell Rock” has been performed by many, but Helms’ version is the best known. The song’s title and some of its lyrics are an extension of the old Christmas standard, “Jingle Bells“. It makes brief references to other popular songs of the 1950s, such as “Rock Around the Clock“, and mentions going to a “Jingle hop“. An electric guitar played by Hank Garland can be heard playing the first notes of the chorus of “Jingle Bells”. Backup singers were the Anita Kerr Quartet.

Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air
What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away
Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Jingle around the clock
Mix and a-mingle in the jingling feet
That’s the jingle bell rock
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air
What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away (rock the night away)
Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Jingle around the clock
Mix and a-mingle in the jingling feet
That’s the jingle bell
That’s the jingle bell
That’s the jingle bell (rock)
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Woah

Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded this song. Recorded in October of 1958 at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville. The song was written by Johnny Marks. It would be one of the first stereo recordings to come out of Nashville. The song did not sell well until Brenda Lee had gotten more popular. In 1960 it reached #14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. It peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Christmas singles chart in 1965. SoundScan has estimated total sales of 1,000,000 digital downloads in 2016.

From Wikipedia.

The song’s declaration of a rock and roll sound notwithstanding, its instrumentation also fits the country music genre, which Lee more fully embraced as her career evolved. The recording features Hank Garland and Harold Bradley on guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax, Bob Moore on bass, and veteran session player Buddy Harman on drums. The song is written in the key of A-flat major.
An instrumental version of the song appears as background music in the 1964 television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which exclusively featured music written by Marks. It can be heard in the scene where Rudolph first arrives at the Reindeer Games and meets another reindeer named Fireball. A fully sung version of the song would later appear in Rankin/Bass’s 1979 sequel Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. The song was also used in the 1990 film Home Alone during a scene when Kevin McCallister pretends that there is a holiday party taking place in his house, and discourages the burglars from robbing it.

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
At the Christmas party hop
Mistletoe hung where you can see
Every couple tries to stop
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Let the Christmas spirit ring
Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie
And we’ll do some caroling
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear
Voices singing, let’s be jolly
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone dancin’ merrily
In the new old-fashioned way
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear
Voices singing, let’s be jolly
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone dancin’ merrily
In the new old-fashioned way
Songwriters: Johnny Marks

Gene Vincent – Be Bop A Lula

Recorded by Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps in 1956 its influence would be huge on Rock N Roll. The song was released in June 1956 on Capitol Records’ single F3450, and immediately sold well. The song was successful on three American singles charts it peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, No. 8 on the R&B chart, and also made the top ten on the C&W Best Seller chart peaking at No. 5. In the UK, it peaked at No. 16 in August 1956. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.

The story of how the decidedly un-complex lyrics of “Be-Bop-A-Lula” got written is shrouded in a certain amount of controversy. Officially, Gene Vincent’s business manager, Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis, is credited as the co-writer, but Sheriff Tex, a savvy 40-year-old from Connecticut, seems an unlikely source of such naïve gem. The story that has the greater ring of truth credits a young man named Donald Graves—a buddy Gene Vincent made in a Portsmouth, Virginia, Veteran’s Hospital. Vincent—born Vincent Eugene Craddock in 1935—had just reenlisted in the U.S. Navy in the spring of 1955 when he suffered a devastating leg injury in a motorcycle accident. That injury would land him in hospital for more than a year, where a fellow patient remembers Vincent and Graves tooling around the facility working out the song that would eventually become a classic. By the time Gene Vincent’s demo tape reached Capitol Records the following spring, however, Graves had been bought out of his share in “Be-Bop-A-Lula” by Sheriff Tex, reportedly for just $25.

In early 1956, Gene Vincent performed the song on a radio show in Norfolk, Virginia, and recorded a demo version which was passed to Capitol Records, who were looking for a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Capitol invited Vincent to record the song and it was recorded at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee on May 4, 1956. Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), “Wee” Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), “Jumpin'” Jack Neal (string bass), and Dickie “Be Bop” Harrell (drums) comprised the band. When the song was being recorded, Harrell screamed twice in the background, he said because he wanted to be sure his family could hear it was him on the record.

 

“Be-Bop-A-Lula” is without a doubt the Gene Vincent song that influenced the Beatles the most. Lennon admitted to Barry Miles in 1969, “That beginning – ‘we-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l!’ – always made my hair stand on end” (Lewisohn 2013, page 94). Significantly, John sang the song live for the first time on the day he met Paul McCartney for the first time. Also significantly, Lennon opened his 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll with a cover of “Be-Bop-A-Lula”. The song also is a prime example of early so-called ‘nonsense lyrics’. Although lyrics such as “Be-Bop-A-Lula” contain no literary or semantic meaning, they do have musical meaning. The words “Be-Bop-A-Lula” were chosen because the phonetic articulation of those syllables perfectly fit the music – and any meaning of those syllables is largely coincidental. This style of lyric-writing is something that John Lennon would explore in depth in his songs from the later 60’s, such as “Dig a Pony”, “Come Together”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”, and many more. In other words, it’s not much of a stretch from “Be-Bop-A-Lula” to “Goo goo k’joob”.

Vincent also influenced the band’s fashion sense. In the 1963 BBC documentary The Mersey Sound, John Lennon admitted, “[W]e’d always worn jeans ‘cuz we didn’t have anything else … [W]e went back to Germany and we had a bit more money the second time, so we bought leather pants and looked like four Gene Vincents, only a bit younger.

One added note. The first record Paul purchased as a teen was Be Bop A Lula.

Info from Wikipedia and Songfacts.

 

Be Bop A Lula

Well be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Well she’s the girl in the red blue jeans
She’s the queen of all the teens
She’s the one that I know
She’s the woman that loves me so
Say be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Let’s rock!
Well now she’s the one that’s got that beat
She’s the woman with the flyin’ feet
She’s the one that walks around the store
She’s the one that gets more more more
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Let’s rock again, now!
Well be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Songwriters: Gene Vincent / Tex Davis