B.B. King

Rock Me Baby

Song Review by

B.B. King left his longtime label home, RPM/Kent Records, in the early '60s and signed to ABC-Paramount. But RPM/Kent retained many unreleased King masters, and over the years the company released them, thus forcing King to compete with himself. The most successful of these releases was "Rock Me Baby," a blues King wrote with Joe Josea and recorded in about 1958. The lyric is a basic plea for sex -- "Rock me all night long" -- while the music provides a blues structure that allows King room for biting guitar work. "Rock Me Baby" was released as a single on Kent in the spring of 1964 and climbed into the Top 20 of the R&B charts and the Top 40 of the pop charts, making it King's biggest crossover hit yet and his most successful pop record until the appearance of "The Thrill Is Gone" five and a half years later. That exposure helped the song become a blues standard, one that was played by many guitarists. Probably the most radical restatement of "Rock Me Baby" occurred on June 18, 1967, when the Jimi Hendrix Experience played it at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Hendrix speeded the song up considerably and thoroughly rearranged it, introducing radically different guitar playing that made "Rock Me Baby" a showcase for his unique talents. The performance was recorded and initially released in 1970 on the album Monterey International Pop Festival, which "Hendrix" shared with Otis Redding. The song also has been a favorite for such rock guitarists as Johnny Winter and Hot Tuna's Jorma Kaukonen, and has been recorded by a variety of blues performers. For many, the song, which is nearly a generic blues, is used merely as a format to which they add traditional blues lyrics and their own instrumental embroidering.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964
No Image 1987 MCA
The Best of B.B. King, Vol. 2 1987 Ace
King of the Blues [Box] 1992 MCA 3:02
Got the Blues [K-Tel] 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:49
Mojo Workin': The Best of Ace Blues 1995
Various Artists
Ace 3:01
Living the Blues [Time-Life Inc.] 1998
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:01
The Best of the Kent Singles 1958-1971 2000 Ace 2:59
Sweet Home Blues 2000
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 3:01
Rock Me Baby [Edel Germany] 2000 Edel Records 2:51
No Image 2001
Orginal Soundtrack
MCA
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
The Blues [Recording Arts] 2001
Various Artists
Recording Arts 2:48
The Vintage Years 2002 Import 3:00
Very Best of B.B. King [P-Vine] 2003 P-Vine Records 3:02
Good Morning Bluesman 2003
Various Artists
P-Vine Records 3:02
Blues Kingpins 2003 Virgin 2:59
I Heard It on NPR: Shake These Blues 2003
Various Artists
NPR Recordings / NPR National Public Radio 2:58
I Heard It on NPR: Jazz for Blue Nights/At Home in the World/Shake These Blues 2003
Various Artists
NPR National Public Radio 2:58
No Image
Various Artists
Time / Life Music