Day 238: “That’s All Right (Mama)”

When was it recorded?   Jul. 2, 1963

When was it first released, and on which album?   Nov. 30, 1994 on “Live at the BBC”

Who wrote it?   Arthur Crudup

Have I heard this song before?   Probably

What my research dug up:

American blues musician Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup wrote “That’s All Right, Mama.” Turns out I already wrote about him on Day 125: “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down…” (although he didn’t write that one), which is nice. According to Wikipedia, “Crudup used lines in his song that had been present in earlier blues recordings, including Blind Lemon Jefferson’s 1926 song ‘That Black Snake Moan.’” I wrote about Blind Lemon Jefferson before, too, on Day 164: “Matchbox.”

Crudup recorded the original version of “That’s All Right, Mama” on Sept. 6, 1946 and released it as a single.

Of course, Elvis Presley released the most famous version of “That’s All Right.” Wikipedia painted quite a picture of the cover’s genesis, writing, “During an uneventful recording session at Sun Studios on the evening of July 5, 1954, Presley, Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (string bass) were taking a break between recordings when Presley started fooling around with an up-tempo version of Arthur Crudup’s song ‘That’s All Right, Mama.’ Black began joining in on his upright bass, and soon they were joined by Moore on guitar. Producer Sam Phillips, taken aback by this sudden upbeat atmosphere, asked the three of them to start again so he could record it. Black’s bass and guitars from Presley and Moore provided the instrumentation. The recording contains no drums or additional instruments. The song was produced in the style of a ‘live’ recording (all parts performed at once and recorded on a single track).” The single was released Jul. 19, 1954.

(Oh good Lord, the comments on the video…)

Rolling Stone ranked “That’s All Right” as #113 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and further argued Elvis’s cover version was the first rock-and-roll record. The ladies back in the day certainly thought you.

While Elvis’s cover didn’t sell enough copies to chart nationally, it did make an impression the Fab Four.

Quoth the Beatles Bible, “Although The Beatles performed around 30 of Presley’s songs between 1957 and 1962, only three were recorded.” All three were recorded for BBC Radio programs and not professional albums; the Beatles Bible speculates the Beatles “wanted to distance themselves from Presley, after they found fame, to establish themselves as fresh faces.”

“That’s All Right” was recorded Jul. 2, 1963 for “Pop Go the Beatles.”




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