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Sep 03

FRANKIE LAINE – “Hey Joe”

Popular9 comments • 1,538 views

#13, 23rd October 1953

The horns equal MAN ON THE PROWL thing gets further reinforced as Frankie Laine follows up a mega-hit by throwing everything he can at “Hey Joe” – brass all over the shop, a guitar solo (again!) (a much better one than Guy Mitchell’s I might add), backing singers, tumbling rhymes and an outright bizarre vocal style which stretches line-endings to breaking point and ends up sounding like proto-Dylan (“I’ll tell you face to face I mean to steeeeeeeal / Her from yeooooow“). It’s the most vigorous thing to top the charts since Kay Starr but for all its incident it never really gels.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Doctor Casino on 7 Oct 2007 #

    Tom, you’re mad! This is one of the most fun things I’ve discovered poking back through the pre-Beatles era on this thing. Alternately swaggering, sweaty, and desperate, with humor that resonates. I can relate to the people who made this a hit. They seem like real people and not strange curiousities from a previous universe.

    I’d also like to think of this as some sort of flipside to, say, “Wedding Bells” – now the old gang of buddies is breaking up, but not so much because of weddings but because of an effort to break one up.

  2. 2
    Doctor Casino on 7 Oct 2007 #

    And that solo is wild!

  3. 3
    Marcello Carlin on 8 Oct 2007 #

    Give it up for pedal steel maestro Speedy West!

  4. 4
    Lena on 8 Oct 2007 #

    So, this isn’t the usual “Hey Joe”?

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 8 Oct 2007 #

    No, nothing to do with the other “Hey Joe” with the other “wild solo.” Wouldn’t it have been great if it had been, though?

  6. 6
    intothefireuk on 8 Nov 2007 #

    The second number one in a row to employ a much more rhythmic, uptempo & lively backing except this is a good deal busier and I think I can hear a kitchen sink in there somewhere as well. Frankie seems to have cheered up a little since his previous hit and it sounds like he’s having a ball (with his crazy pals in tow). If I was Joe I wouldn’t trust this bunch, and I think I’d be grabbing my girl and catching the nearest stagecoach outta town.

  7. 7
    Doctor Casino on 18 Jul 2008 #

    Frankly, I think Joe’s pretty much already lost this one.

  8. 8
    Sam C on 15 Sep 2010 #

    I’m more familiar with the Carl Smith version (featured on Columbia Country Classics Vol 2) which is a fine rattler, but this is an entertaining reading of a very likeable song.

  9. 9
    Eli on 19 Dec 2010 #

    I agree with Doctor Casino – this is great 50s pop. Like the Guy Mitchell UK #1s, I don’t think it made much impression at all in Frankie’s US homeland. I wonder why our tastes differed so much on these occasions.

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