“Summertime Blues” is our #1 song of summertime because of its versatility and the way it grew up right alongside the rock genre itself as it was frequently re-interpreted through the years. Originally recorded as a B-side by Eddie Cochran in 1958, the song was later recorded by diverse sixties rock acts such as The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Blue Cheer, who may have recorded the most indelible hard rock version of the song.
Cochran was just 19 when he recorded this inventive song, which he co-wrote, played multiple instruments and provided two distinctive vocals. It was slated as a “B-side” because the record company wanted him to be more of a crooner than a rocker. However, it became a big hit on its own as a slightly rebellious song about teenage angst. Cochran died just 2 years later but the rock arrangement of this track was a huge influence on many subsequent rock musicians, especially George Harrison of The Beatles, who mimicked Cochran’s guitar playing.
The oldest song on our summer countdown, in the many decades following the song’s release, “Summertime Blues” has become a concert favorite by bands such as Van Halen, Rush, and countless others from the past, present and (no doubt) future for many summers to come.