rolling stones susie q 1964Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Susie Q

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Say that you’ll be true/ And never leave me blue/ My Susie Q…

Written by: Hawkins/Lewis/Broadwater
Recorded: Regent Sounds Studios, London, England, Sept. 28 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
This piece of blues-drenched rock ‘n’ roll with its cowbell-infused rhythm was one of the most influential and original records of its era. It took rockabilly pioneer Dale Hawkins and his bandmates three months to perfect the song on the stages of North Louisiana’s notorious Bossier City strip before they paid a local radio station $25 to let them record it in the station’s studio during early morning downtime. Hawkins told Mojo journalist Michael Hurtt in 2007: “We just had to have something different.” He added: “Radio Station KWKH was the only place in town that had a good mono tape machine, so we cut it there with Bob Sullivan, an engineer who was from our part of the country and understood. We only had an hour because we had to do it in between the time that they would switch radio towers.”

The swampy six-string guitar lick was courtesy of 15-year-old James Burton, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 as a sideman. Other guitarists who worked at one time or another with Hawkins included Carl Adams, Roy Buchanan and Scotty Moore.

Though the song didn’t chart, it has sold well over the years and was a favorite of the Rolling Stones, who recorded it on their 1964 12 x 5 album. Creedence Clearwater Revival also launched their career with their version of this southern rock ‘n’ roll classic.

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
A familiar face in the clubs of Shreveport, Louisiana, from the second half of the fifties, the singer and guitarist Dale Hawkins went down in history as the musician who combined the rockabilly of Elvis Presley/Scotty Moore with the swamp blues of Slim Harpo and Lightnin’ Slim. Hence his sobriquet “the architect of swamp rock boogie.” Hawkins owes this flattering reputation to one song in particular, Susie Q, which he recorded in 1957 at the KWKH radio station in Shreveport with the wonderful James Burton (the guitarist of Ricky Nelson and subsequently Elvis Presley) on lead guitar.

Released as a single by Checker Records in May 1957, it reached number 27 on the Billboard charts on July 1, 1957, to the enormous delight of Hawkins, of course, but also of Stan Lewis (the owner of Jewel/Paula Records, whose records were at that time distributed by Chess/Checker) and Eleanor Broadwater, who had taken the precaution of having themselves credited as co-writers. I like the way you walk/I like the way you talk: Susie Q inspired a huge number of singers and groups and went on to enter the list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. In addition to the Rolling Stones, these artists have included Johnny Rivers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, José Feliciano, and Suzi Quatro, to name just a few.

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