TEST YOUR SONG IQ
Songs from MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET (MDQ) have been hits from 1946 to today. While Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins have found eternal “Peace in the Valley,” their songs, along with Jerry Lee Lewis,’ have entertained audiences for generations.
MDQ Songs Sung by Other Artists
The hit songs from MDQ have been sung by Bill Haley and the Comets, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Patsy Cline, The Beatles, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Pat Boone, Led Zepplin, Johnny Rivers, George Thorogood, Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and many others.
But who were the original vocalists who performed these songs? Who wrote the songs? Test your song IQ to see how
much you know about these early songs of rock and roll.
- “Blue Suede Shoes"
- "That's All Right"
- "Sixteen Tons"
- "Great Balls of Fire"
- "Walk the Line"
- "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
- "Who Do You Love?"
- "Hound Dog"
- The idea for the song “Blue Suede Shoes” came from Johnny Cash who related a story about an airman in Germany who referred to his regulation shoes as “blue suede shoes” and suggested Perkins write a song about shoes. Later Perkins heard a boy on the dance floor tell his girl not to “step on his suedes.” A song was born. Carl Perkins wrote and recorded “Blue Suede Shoes” in 1955.
- “Fever” was originally sung by Little Willie John, an African American, who sold more than one million copies and received a gold disc. Peggy Lee did not record the song until 1958. Elvis released the song in 1960.
- While “That's All Right “ was Presley’s first hit, it was originally written and sung by Arthur Crudup, an African-American blues singer in 1946
- “Sixteen Tons” was first sung by country singer Merle Travis in 1946. It became a huge hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955.
- Jerry Lee Lewis recorded the song “Great Balls of Fire” in 1957. The song was written by Otis Blackwell who also penned “Fever,”, “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Return to Sender,” and “All Shook Up”.
- “Walk the Line” was written and sung by Johnny Cash in 1956.
- Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was a joint production of African-American singer/songwriter Curlee Williams and white bandleader Roy Hall (pseudonym of Sonny David). The first recording of the song was by Big Maybelle in 1955, produced by none other than Quincy Jones. Lewis recorded the song for Sun Records in 1957.
- "Who Do You Love?" was written and recorded in 1956 by Bo Diddley.
- While "Matchbox" was a hit for Carl Perkins in 1959, an earlier version of the song was first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927. Perkins’ version was later recorded by the Beatles in 1964.
- Big Mama Thornton, a blues singer, recorded "Hound Dog" in 1952. Then when Elvis saw Freddie Bell and the Bellboys perform the song in Las Vegas in 1955, “Hound Dog” became part of his repertoire.
Photo Credit: Original Broadway cast member Lance Guest as Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet. (Photo by Joan Marcus)