Alan Jackson hit the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the eighth time with “Summertime Blues” on July 23, 1994.
Alan Jackson made a case for himself as the country king of summertime fun with his 1993 No. 1 single, “Chattahoochee.” In 1994, he solidified his position with the lead single, “Summertime Blues,” from his fifth studio album, Who I Am.
Before Alan found chart-topping success with “Summertime Blues,” the tune had several incarnations across multiple genres.
From Rockabilly to Country
Penned by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart, “Summertime Blues” became a Top 10 hit for Eddie in 1958. The rockabilly artist’s rendition reached No. 8 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart. Tragically, Eddie, 21, was killed in an auto accident two years later in 1960. Eddie’s version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Beach Boys paid tribute to Eddie by recording “Summertime Blues” on their 1962 debut album, Surfin’ Safari. In 1967, rock band Blue Cheer covered the tune on their 1968 album, Vincebus Eruptum. The band scored a Top 20 hit with “Summertime Blues” when it reached No. 14 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Summertime Blues” also became a standard cover for The Who during their concerts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Who included a version of the song on their first live album, Live at Leeds, in 1970.
For several years, Alan and producer Keith Stegall had been talking about cutting the free‑spirited ode to summer fun. However, it was not a rendition by Eddie Cochran, The Beach Boys, Blue Cheer, or The Who that resonated with Alan.
“Actually, the first version I ever heard was by Buck Owens,” said Alan to Country Weekly in 1994.
Buck Owens recorded “Summertime Blues” on his 1988 album, Hot Dog.
Another Chart-Topper for Alan
Alan proved the boundary between rock and country was thin and easily blurred.
For “Summertime Blues,” Jackson and producer Keith Stegall countrified the rockabilly song with the pedal steel of Paul Franklin and the piano textures of Pig Robbins.
Alan recorded “Summertime Blues” for his fifth studio album, Who I Am. Instead of the customary 10 tracks, Who I Am featured 13 tunes. And four of the tracks reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, starting with “Summertime Blues” on July 23, 1994. Additional chart-toppers included “Livin’ on Love,” “Gone Country,” and “I Don’t Even Know Your Name.”
“I can relate to the ‘Summertime Blues’ because growing up in Newnan [Georgia], we always favored the lake and I had a convertible, so I loved being outside,” said Alan to Country Weekly. “We always lived for the weekends, like everyone does.”
Who I Am reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, following in the chart-topping footsteps of 1992’s A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’Bout Love). In addition, Who I Am became Alan’s first album to crack the Top 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.