Jailhouse Rock chords by Elvis Presley


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Jailhouse Rock | Chords + Lyrics (tune down 1/2)


Intro

| N.C Eb | E | E Eb | E | E Eb |

Verse 1

| E | E Eb |
The warden threw a party in the county jail.
| E | E Eb |
The prison band was there and they began to wail.
| E | E Eb |
The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing.
| E N.C | N.C |
You should’ve heard those knocked-out jailbirds sing.

Chorus 1

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
| B (B6) | A (A6) |
Everybody in the whole cell block.
| E (E6) | E Eb |
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.

Verse 2

| E | E Eb |
Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone.
| E | E Eb |
Little Joe was blowin’ on the slide trombone.
| E | E Eb |
The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang.
| E N.C | N.C |
The whole rhythm section was a purple gang.

Chorus 2

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
| B (B6) | A (A6) |
Everybody in the whole cell block.
| E (E6) | E Eb |
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.

Verse 3

| E | E Eb |
Number 47 said to number 3:
| E | E Eb |
“You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
| E | E Eb |
I sure would be delighted with your company.
| E N.C | N.C |
Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me”.

Chorus 3

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
| B (B6) | A (A6) |
Everybody in the whole cell block.
| E (E6) | E Eb |
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock, Rock, Rock.

Solo

| A A6 | A7 A6 | E E6 | E7 E6 |
| B B6 | A A6 | E E6 | E7 Eb |

Verse 4

| E | E Eb |
Sad Sack was sittin’ on a block of stone.
| E | E Eb |
Way over in the corner weepin’ all alone.
| E | E Eb |
The warden said, “Hey, buddy, don’t you be no square.
| E N.C | N.C |
If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair”.

Chorus 4

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
| B (B6) | A (A6) |
Everybody in the whole cell block.
| E (E6) | E Eb |
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.

Verse 5

| E | E Eb |
Shifty Henry said to Bugs, “For Heaven’s sake.
| E | E Eb |
No one’s lookin’, now’s the chance to make a break”.
| E | E Eb |
Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said, “Nix nix.
| E N.C | N.C |
I wanna stick around a while and get my kicks”.

Chorus 6

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
| B (B6) | A (A6) |
Everybody in the whole cell block.
| E (E6) | (E E6) |
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.

Outro

||: E (E6) | (E E6) :||
||: Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock :|| to fade



Jailhouse Rock Chords: Learn the progressions!


Jailhouse Rock Analysis + TAB

On the original recording, the band is tuned down to Eb. Should you want to play along with it, you can use my free online chromatic tuner to get to Eb.

Once you’re in tune with Elvis and the gang, you’ll soon discover that there are two sections in Jailhouse Rock.

Both sections are seemingly simple, but you must get the chord shape right in order for it to sound like the original verse. The chords are just sliding into chord I, like this:

||: E | E Eb :||

For the chorus, you need to play 8th notes as the bass player plays 1/4 notes. This needs to be played using open A and E strings, hence the need to tune down 1/2 step, playing in Eb just won’t sound right.

If you don’t have a spare guitar to keep in Eb and don’t want to tune down your guitar, try the Digitech drop pedal.

The chorus chord progression starts on chord IV and is much like an 8-bar blues, like this:

| A (A6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E (E6) |
| B (B6) | A (A6) | E (E6) | E Eb |

Should you want to play all this in the same key as Blues Brothers, and many covers bands do, tune back up to standard tuning, then transpose all of Jailhouse Rock’s chords to the key of D.

Members get TAB for how to do all of this, here’s a link to the complete lesson (members only): Jailhouse Rock – Guitar lesson with TAB.

Become a member today and get unlimited access to all step-by-step guitar coursesTAB for the songbook, the Self-Eliminating Practice Routine, and the eBook Spytunes Method.

Jailhouse Rock was supposed to be a joke song!

When Elvis released Jailhouse Rock in 1957, he was already a worldwide superstar with 8 previous #1’s.

Written by Lieber & Stoller for the movie with the same name, this was logically the lead single from the soundtrack EP.

The writers’ intention was that Jailhouse Rock was a tongue-in-cheek joke song with gay undertones, with verse 3 being:

Number 47 said to number 3:
“You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company.
Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me”.

But Elvis just sang it straight and nobody seemed to get the joke. I’m not sure anyone ever did!

Since its release, Jailhouse Rock has been an obvious choice for the working rock n’ roll band.

If you want to play guitar in this style, make sure you get the chord shapes right, that opening sliding chord must be a C shape as nothing else will sound right.



Jailhouse Rock Chords | Related Pages


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About me

About Me Dan Lundholm T

This article was written by Dan Lundholm, Spytunes guitar guru. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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