Elvis Presley

Baby Let's Play House

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Few 1950s rockabilly platters more rousingly define the genre -- or more fully capture its decadently dangerous side -- better than Elvis Presley's February 5, 1955, Sun Records waxing of "Baby Let's Play House." Produced by the legendary Sam Phillips at his fabled studio at 706 Union in Memphis, the incendiary performance hails from rockabilly's formative era, when the rules hadn't yet been cast in stone and Elvis was still experimenting in overdrive, searching for the compelling sound that would catapult him to icon status in little over a year (the track proved Presley's first national hit, rising to number five on Billboard's country charts midway through 1955). Presley's slapback echo-laden hiccuping-briefly rendered a cappella before the snarling low-end guitar of Scotty Moore enters, crackling with roadhouse-tested fire segues into an irresistibly lascivious declaration of lust and (at least on the final payoff line) a not-so-subtle hint of violence. Both of Moore's immaculately conceived and executed solos were monstrously influential to the rockabilly idiom, copied by countless Southern axe-wielding teens, and Bill Black slaps his thundering upright bass so percussively that no drummer was necessary. Like Elvis' 1954 remakes of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right" and Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" that preceded it in Sun's catalog, the song was born as a blues. It was written and first cut by Nashville blues guitarist Arthur Gunter, whose less urgent reading was riding high on the R&B charts at that moment for Ernie Young's Excello label. Yet it was Elvis' glorious cover, loaded with rude, hormonally goosed exuberance and captured brilliantly by Phillips behind the board, that makes the track integral to Presley's musical development. Buddy Holly, Sleepy LaBeef, and many other lads who shared the rockabilly fever paid tribute with sound-alike versions (right down to nailing Moore's solos note for note), and the Johnny Burnette Trio's romping "Oh Baby Babe" was so similar that it might as well be credited as such.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1958 RCA 2:17
A Date with Elvis 1959 BMG International 2:18
No Image 1975
The Sun Sessions 1976 BMG International 2:17
No Image 1983
No Image 1988 Pair 0:00
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters 1992 RCA 2:16
Elvis Country [1994 Compilation] 1994 RCA 0:00
The Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:19
Platinum: A Life in Music 1997 RCA 1:10
Greatest Jukebox Hits 1997 RCA 2:16
Rock N' Roll Legends 1997
Various Artists
Mega Stars 2:39
A Golden Celebration 1998 RCA 2:35
A Touch of Platinum, Vol. 2 1998 RCA 1:10
The Elvis Presley Collection: Rhythm & Blues 1998 Time / Life Music 2:18
Sunrise 1999 RCA 2:15
Artist of the Century 1999 RCA 2:15
No Image 1999 RCA 2:16
Rockin' 1999 BMG International 2:19
Rock & Roll 1999 BMG 2:16
The Essential Elvis Presley [Red X] 1999 Red X 3:12
Best of Artist of the Century 2000 RCA 2:16
As Good as It Gets: Rockabilly 2000
Various Artists
Disky 2:06
Elvis Rockabilly 2000 BMG International 2:19
Louisiana Hayride: Classic Rockabilly Radio 2000
Various Artists
Music Mill 3:15
Meer Dan Het Beste Van Elvis Presley 2001 BMG International 2:16
No Image 2001 RCA 2:16
No Image 2001 Collectables
No Image 2002 Pioneer
The Elvis Broadcasts on Air 2002 Stardust Records 3:13
Everything About Elvis [CD & Book] 2002 Griffin / Lakeshore Records 2:11
Maybellene 2002 Time Music 2:11
King of Rock 'n' Roll [Platinum] 2002 Platinum Collection 2:14
I Was the One [SS] 2003 SS Music 2:15
Rockabilly Riot [Sanctuary] 2003
Various Artists
Sanctuary 2:17
The Louisiana Hayride Shows 2004 Goldies 2:13
Elvis at Sun 2004 BMG Heritage 2:17
Sunshine 2006 Universe 2:14
Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:17
Elvis R&B 2006 RCA 2:17
The Essential Elvis Presley [RCA/Sony BMG] 2007 RCA 2:17
The Complete '56 Sessions 2008 Chrome Dreams 2:32
No Image 2008 Hear Music
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Uncut Music 2:17
Robert Plant's Jukebox 2011
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 2:18
No Image 2012 Labelle
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Must Have Records
The Sun Rock Box 2013
Various Artists
Bear Family Records
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records