Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Alan Jackson, “Summertime Blues”

“Summertime Blues”

Alan Jackson

Written by Jerry Capehart and Eddie Cochran


#1 (3 weeks)

July 23 – August 6, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 22, 1994

Alan Jackson covers Eddie Cochran…and himself.

The Road to No. 1

After a final No. 1 single from his third Arista album, Alan Jackson previewed his fourth set with a cover of a fifties rockabilly hit.

The No. 1

This is Eddie Cochran’s classic “Summertime Blues” sung by Alan Jackson over the “Chattahoochee” dance mix beat.

In a weird way, this makes his take on the classic more derivative of his own work than it is of the original.

Anyway, he was already too old to sing this song and it’s the least significant of all of his many nineties No. 1 hits.

Let’s move on.

The Road From No. 1

Who I Am didn’t get off to a great start creatively, but the next three singles are fantastic, and the next two will go to No. 1.  Let’s save our time and energy for those.

“Summertime Blues” gets a C.


Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I remember the first time I heard this song on the radio and I thought, “Well gee, this sounds an awful lot like Chattahoochee”. Even childhood me seemed to pick that up fairly quickly. It’s a fine song, nothing special but nothing disastrous either. There’s at least 30 Alan Jackson songs I’d take before this one (and probably more than that) but it’s still a lot better than a lot of the stuff on the horizon in this series.

  2. I always found it more derivative of “Mercury Blues” in that it was a cover of an older song with ample opportunities for everyone in the band to have a solo. Which in all honesty is one of the things I miss in modern country – hearing several different instruments have longer solos in the same song.

  3. Alan Jackson is one of those artists who still gets passing marks even when he fails to live up to expectations like he does here. This is filler AJ at best, an innocuous summer song.

    Oddly, given all his other stronger material, this gets played a lot on SiriusXM’s “Prime Country” channel.

  4. The classic Eddie Cochran single contained a very prominent guitar riff that every artist that subsequently covered the song retained … until Alan Jackson, that is.

    That ruined Alan’s version of the song for me

  5. Good point on that Cochran guitar riff. It would’ve made the record sound more distinctive, no doubt.

    There’s a Pam Tillis No. 1 hit coming up soon that did the same thing to a classic hit from the early days of Rock and Roll, taking notes out of a legendary hook. Worked much better in that case.

  6. Yep, this is one of AJ’s weaker 90’s hits, for sure. However, I didn’t always exactly think of it that way.

    Unlike several of these other 1994 entries, I actually did hear this one when it was brand new. By this time, my parents and I were regularly going to the movies just about every Friday afternoon, with the AMC theaters at the mall being our regular place. Also, I was still listening to the oldies station a lot around this time, and I always liked Eddie Cochran’s original version of “Summertime Blues” whenever it came on. Well one day, just when we were leaving the AMC, we heard Alan Jackson’s new version of the song playing through the speakers, and I remember both my step dad and I thought it was one of the coolest new things we heard (with part of my step dad’s childhood being in the 1950’s, he also liked the Cochran original). It was part of the playlist of current hits of all genres that AMC regularly played to entertain folks in the theatre before the movie started, and I remember both of us getting to enjoy it at least a few more times whenever we went back. There are quite a few more mid-late 90’s country songs that also bring back good memories of hearing them regularly at the AMC theaters. The Tractors’ “Baby Likes To Rock It” is another one my step dad and I always loved to jam out to whenever it came on at AMC (especially if the theater was still empty, lol), and even today, that tune is still one of my guilty pleasures.

    Heck, I even have this song on that tape I recorded in the Spring of 1997 that I mentioned in Blackhawk’s “Every Once In A While,” so I did actually like this one quite a bit back then. In more recent times though, I’ve come to prefer the Eddie Cochran original not only because I love that guitar riff Paul mentions, but it just comes across as much more authentic compared to Jackson’s version, which was obviously meant to recapture the success of “Chattahoochee,” and the line dance ready feel of the track hasn’t aged too well, either. Finally, it’s become one of my least favorite AJ singles simply because I get the “Summertime Blues” in a completely different way. I’m just not a fan of extremely hot weather, gross sticky humidity, mosquitos, harder time sleeping due to the heat, and avoiding the sun as much as possible to avoid sunburns and skin cancer (I have super pale skin due to Scotch-Irish ancestry that doesn’t tan at all), lol.

    Still, because I have those fond memories of enjoying it with my step dad, I just can’t bring myself to dislike this one too much. I like most all of the other singles from Who I Am, though, and I agree that it’s definitely one of his overall stronger sets from the decade.

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