Elvis Presley

Jailhouse Rock

Song Review by

Written as the title track for Elvis' third movie, "Jailhouse Rock" is one of rock & roll's great irreducibles. Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, the song sports one of rock & roll's most simplistic riffs, one that can be played by even the most stylistically challenged of musicians. Presley's original starts with that chordal sliding riff, moving from the key of D to the tune's official key of E flat (although almost no one has recorded the tune in that tune since), punctuated by two raw slaps to the snare drum. Elvis' vocal entry -- indeed his entire vocal performance on this track -- is an anguished howl, describing a party in the "old cellblock." Rife with images of various inmates rockin' it up, the tune is 12-bar rock & roll at its best, its lyrics virtually timeless. Small wonder then that this tune became Elvis' finest musical number in all of his movies, the one production number that actually worked for him as a singer and as a dancer. ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, and others have also found the magic lurking in this riff, usually reassigning the key to D natural, but keeping Presley's original intro more or less intact.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1957 1957
Various Artists
Rhino 2:27
Elvis' Golden Records 1958 RCA 2:28
No Image 1970 RCA
No Image 1972 RCA
Elvis Forever [1974] 1974 RCA
Pure Gold 1975 RCA 2:29
No Image 1975 Arcade Music
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 2 1976 RCA Camden Classics / Special Music 2:30
No Image 1978 RCA
Elvis Sings Leiber & Stoller 1980 RCA
Elvis Aron Presley 1980 RCA 2:06
This Is Elvis 1981 RCA
No Image 1981 Lata
No Image 1982
No Image 1983 RCA
Collection, Vol. 2 1984 RCA
All Time Greatest Hits 1986 BMG International 2:26
The Number One Hits 1987 RCA 2:28
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Elvis Presley - 1954-1961 1988 2:30
Jailhouse Rock [Ariola Express] 1989 Ariola Express
The Definitive Rock & Roll Album 1990 RCA
Great Performances [RCA] 1990 RCA 2:30
There's a Riot Goin' On! The Rock 'N' Roll Classics of Lieber and Stoller 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 2:29
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters 1992 RCA 2:28
Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits: 1957-1961 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:27
His Life and Music 1995 Life Times & Music 2:30
Gold: The Very Best of the King 1995 BMG International 2:29
Jailhouse Rock/Love Me Tender 1997 RCA 2:32
Jailhouse Rock [Video] 1997 MGM / UA
Platinum: A Life in Music 1997 RCA 2:27
Elvis Elvis Elvis: The King & His Movies 1997 Life Times & Music 2:29
24 Karat Hits! 1997 Analogue Productions / RCA 2:37
Greatest Jukebox Hits 1997 RCA 2:27
WODS Oldies 103 Boston, Vol. 1: The 50's - Tenth Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:24
The Elvis Presley Collection: Movie Magic [Time-Life] 1997 Time / Life Music 2:35
A Touch of Platinum 1998 RCA 2:27
Hollywood Party [Entertainers] 1998
Various Artists
Entertainers 2:33
All the Best, Vol. 1-2 1999 BMG International 2:35
Elvis Shaped CD Box 1999 Eclipse Music Group 2:26
Loud, Fast & Out of Control: The Wild Sounds of the '50s [Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:28
Artist of the Century 1999 RCA 2:27
No Image 1999 RCA 2:32
Can't Help Falling in Love: The Hollywood Hits 1999 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:29
Rockin' 1999 BMG International 2:29
Rock & Roll 1999 BMG 2:28
Elvis 2000 2000 BMG International 2:29
Best of Artist of the Century 2000 RCA 2:29
The 50 Greatest Hits 2000 RCA 2:29
Swedish Hit Collection 2001 BMG International 2:27
No Image 2001 RCA 2:30
No Image 2001 Collectables
Jukebox Hits of the '50s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:27
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:27
Jailhouse Rock 2002 RCA
Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits 2002 RCA 2:37
Elvis: Close Up 2003 BMG Heritage / RCA 3:21
Elvis Forever [2004] 2004 RCA
Hitstory 2005 Sony Music Distribution 2:37
Elvis #1 Singles 2006 RCA / Sony BMG 0:26
Elvis Rock 2006 Sony BMG / RCA 2:36
Elvis Movies 2006 RCA 2:28
Capital Gold 50's Legends 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:35
The Essential Elvis Presley [RCA/Sony BMG] 2007 RCA 2:36
Early Elvis 2007 RCA / Sony BMG / Sony Music Distribution 2:28
No Image 2007 RCA 2:35
Greatest Country Hits of 1957 2008
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:25
101 Rock 'N' Roll Songs 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 2:35
Number One Hits of 1958 2009
Various Artists
Pickwick 2:46
No Image 2009 Legacy / RCA 2:29
The Rock 'n Roll [Box Set] 2009
Various Artists
Music & Melody 2:28
Golden Oldies Forever: Best of the Best 2009
Various Artists
Luxury Multimedia 2:35
Elvis 75 2009 Legacy / RCA / Sony Legacy 2:29
Hits of the ‘50s 2010 Jasmine Records 2:29
Absolutely Hits of 50's 2011
Various Artists
Delta Leisure Group / Music Digital 2:26
Absolutely Rock 'n' Roll 2011
Various Artists
Delta Leisure Group / Music Digital 2:26
The Cruisin' Story 1957 2011
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:36
Legend: Elvis Presley-100 Classic Songs 2012 HLI
Now That's What I Call a No. 1 2012
Various Artists
EMI / Joint Venture 2:34
I Am an Elvis Fan 2012 Legacy / RCA 2:28
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
The Essential Collection [Play 24-7] 2012 Play 24-7 2:29
Saturday Night Party: Rock 'n' Roll Party, Vol. 1 2012
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:36
Britain's Greatest Hits 1958 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Music / Fabulous 2:30
The R&B No. 1s of the '50s 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:29
The Movie Soundtracks: 20 Original Albums 2014 RCA 2:29
Sweethearts and Stolen Kisses: From the Movies 2014
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:27
The Greatest Ever Rock 'N' Roll 2014
Various Artists
Bellevue / Wienerworld 2:31
The 1950s 2014 Sony Legacy 2:29
No Image 2014
Various Artists
Bossa Nova Baby: The Ultimate Elvis Presley Party Album 2014 Legacy / RCA 2:27
300 Hits: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:29
300 Hits: Saturday Night Party
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:36
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 9: 1958
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:30
Beatles Beginnings, Vol. 8: The Quarrymen Repertoire
Various Artists
Rhythm & Blues 2:30
Birthday Celebration: 75th ZYX 2:27
Blueberry Hill [Bellevue]
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:29
Country Number Ones of the 50s
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:27
Don't Be Cruel [Membran] Membran 2:28
No Image Tandem.Mu 2:28
Elvis Presley the Ultimate Best of , Vol. 3 Excalibur
Elvis by Request: The Australian Fan Edition Sony Music Distribution 2:29
Elvis: Gold Not Now Music 2:28
Flashback Sony Music Entertainment 2:35
Four of a Kind: 200 Classic Songs (From Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry)
Various Artists
Four of a Kind: 200 Classic Songs (From Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry)
Various Artists
Four of a Kind: 200 Classic Songs (from Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry)
Various Artists
Golden Oldies: Coffee Bar Favourites - 100 Classic Songs
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
10Ten Media / Zebralution 2:25
No Image Must Have Records
Original Hits From the 50s & 60s
Various Artists
10Ten Media / Zebralution
Rock & Roll Legend [Platinum Legends] Platinum Legends 2:28
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 1: 1954-1959
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:28
The Classic Jubilee Party Album! (100 Classic Hits!)
Various Artists
Rock and Roll Gold
The Golden Rock N' Roll Collection One
Various Artists
The Great British Street Party 2012 (120 Classic Songs and Anthems to Celebrate the Jubilee!)
Various Artists
Rock and Roll Gold
The Greatest Ever... Party Album
Various Artists
Bellevue / Wienerworld 2:31
The History of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 3 [Excalibur]
Various Artists
The Hit Songs of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, 1952-62
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:29
The Rock 'N' Roll Years Dance Street 2:28
Way It Was: Rock Around the Clock the 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:28