Category Archives: Rock’n’roll Anthems

Flashlite #330

John HardyToday’s show is an episode in our Rock’n’roll Anthems series. Previously we featured Louie Louie, I Fought The Law, Tobacco Road, Train Kept A-Rollin’, Money (That’s What I Want). Today we go the way back to the late nineteenth century when a railroad worker John Hardy committed a murder and got hanged afterwards. The story and the event went into a legend and into a song. The song eventually made it to the records in the twenties and quite a few rock musicians found the story exciting enough to include it into their repertoire. Most notably, my favorite version of Gun Club. As it usually happens in folk traditions, they are not always historically accurate. There was also another character John Henry, who was a a steel driver who apparently defeated a steam powered hammer. For whatever reason, musically and lyrically, some musicians of the past mixed the two different characters and song and elements of one went into another. So, today, we explore these two stories and the impact they had on rock’n’roll. Most recently, Danny Kroha recorded the legend of John Henry on his new lp, so the two characters still continue to keep our attention.

Clarence Ashley – Old John Hardy;
Wild Billy Childish – John Hardy;
Gun Club – John Hardy;
Jeffrey Lee Pierce – John Henry;
George Thorogood And The Destroyers – John Hardy;
Manfred Mann – John Hardy;
Uncle Tupelo – John Hardy;
Johnny Cash – The Legend Of John Henry’s Hammer;
Lead Belly – John Hardy;
Buell Kazee – John Hardy;
Ernest V. Stoneman – John Hardy;
Mississippi Fred McDowell – John Henry;
Roger McGuinn – John Hardy;
Roger McGuinn – John Henry;
Tom T. Hall – More About John Henry;
The Sir Douglas Quintet – Story Of John Hardy;
Van Morrison – John Henry;
Danny Kroha – John Henry.

Flashlite #113

MoneyIn out past seasons we had four shows where we featured songs that we identified as anthems of rock’n’roll. Those are the songs that bands keep turning to through the entire history of this music, tunes that define the very fabric of rock music. Previously we featured Louie Louie, I Fought The Law, Tobacco Road and Train Kept A-Rollin’. Today we have Money (That’s What I Want). The song originally came out in 1959. It is not completely clear who is the author. Around the same time, two nearly identical songs came out, one by John Lee Hooker and the other one by Barrett Strong, written by Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford. The latter version is definitely more famous and also it’s the earliest hit single on Tamla (which soon became Tamla Motown). It’s possible that song is neither Gordy/Bradford or Hooker’s, maybe it’s something that has traditional roots in early rhythm and blues. In any case, fantastic piano riff and material lyrics became one of the main inspirations and many various bands made covers, and it’s a rock standard that was covered both by Beatles and The Stones. Most recently, Peter Case reused this riff on his latest record and retooled it as I Ain’t Got No Dough. All in all, today we go through no less than 20 different versions of this fantastic songs that spans the entire history of rock.

Barrett Strong – Money (That’s What I Want);
Johnny Lee Hooker – I Need Money;
Backbeat Band – Money (That’s What I Want);
The Beatles – Money (That’s What I Want);
The Rolling Stones – Money (That’s What I Want);
Georgie Fame – Money (That’s What I Want);
The Sonics – Money (That’s What I Want);
Alarm Clocks – Money (That’s What I Want);
Buddy Guy – Money (That’s What I Want);
Etta James – Money (That’s What I Want);
Ike And Tina Turner – Money (That’s What I Want);
Dwight Twilley – Money (That’s What I Want);
The dB’s – Money (That’s What I Want);
John Belushi – Money (That’s What I Want);
The Stooges – Money (That’s What I Want);
Kingsmen – Money (That’s What I Want);
The Trashmen – Money (That’s What I Want);
Waylon Jennings – Money (That’s What I Want);
Jerry Lee Lewis – Money (That’s What I Want);
Johnny Lee Hooker – I Need Money;
Peter Case – Ain’t Got No Dough.