Song Draft 2021 – Pick 9 – Steamroller Blues

We are heading into the final two rounds of the 2021 Song Draft. Early on, one of the participants stated that no one had picked a Beatles song, which led to a couple of them entering the draft. I have noticed the absence of another artist that needs to be in the draft – The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

Elvis influenced SO many artists, including the Beatles. He stormed on the scene in the mid-1950’s and continued to be a presence on the music scene until his untimely death in 1977. Elvis had his share of original songs, but was also known for many cover songs. Blue Suede Shoes, The Wonder of You, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and many other songs were all covers by Elvis.

With hundreds of Elvis songs to choose from, I narrowed my choice down to a few. I love his version of Promised Land (a Chuck Berry cover) and Way Down, but I ultimately chose Steamroller Blues.

Steamroller Blues

The song was orginally written in the mid-1960’s by James Taylor. From Songfacts: This song is a parody of sorts, taking aim at overtly sexual blues metaphors. Taylor has “the steamroller blues” and compares his love machine to a cement mixer, a demolition derby, and even a napalm bomb. Taylor came up with the song after seeing lots of white college kids playing blues songs by the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf – he noticed a disconnect there.

Sweet Baby James was Taylor’s second album, and his first on the Warner Bros. label.

Elvis Presley added this song to his live set, and performed it on the Aloha from Hawaii special. This live version was released as a single (as “Steamroller Blues”) and made it to #17 in the US. Notably, this song resulted in Elvis’ last 3 entries at number 1 on a major charting format. The “Aloha From Hawaii” double LP peaked at number 1 on the Billboard and Cash Box Albums Charts. The single, “Steamroller Blues”, taken from the “Aloha From Hawaii” LP, peaked at number 1 on Record World Single Chart.

I’ve heard the James Taylor version, but I really feel like Elvis’ version is better. I love he orchestration, the feel, and everything about it. Here is the concert version:

IN 1988, the rehearsal of the concert was released on an album called The Alternate Aloha. This version is just as good, and Elvis’ vocals are not interrupted by kissing fans in the audience.

A newly-orchestrated version was included on the 2015 album If I Can Dream with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Steamroller Blues – Lyrics

I’m a steamroller baby
I’m ’bout to roll all over you
I’m a steamroller baby
I’m ’bout to roll all over you
I’m gonna inject your soul
With sweet rock’n’roll

And shoot you full of rhythm and blues

I’m a cement mixer
A churning urn of burning funk
I’m a cement mixer
A churning urn of burning funk
I’m a demolition derby
A hefty hunk, steaming junk

I’m a steamroller baby
I’m ’bout to roll over you
I’m a steamroller baby
I’m ’bout to roll over you
I’m gonna inject your soul
With some sweet rock’n’roll
And shoot you full of rhythm and blues

I’m a napalm-bomb
Guaranteed to blow your mind
I’m a napalm-bomb
Guaranteed to blow your mind
If I can’t have your love now baby
There won’t be nothing left behind

Long live the King of Rock and Roll!

3 thoughts on “Song Draft 2021 – Pick 9 – Steamroller Blues

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