Monday, April 29, 2013

Song of the Week: The Who and Otis Blackwell -- Daddy Rolling Stone

The Who perform Daddy Rolling Stone
Otis Blackwell performs Daddy Rolling Stone

A little something different for this week's posts. We're going to take a look at five songs by The Who and trace them back to the original composer...or at least, to the inspiration behind the song. Not easy as The Who dropped studio recording of covers pretty early on and, unlike The Yardbirds, the early days of The Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelin, Pete Townshend wrote largely fresh material.

We start today with Daddy Rolling Stone. That song was never released by The Who in the US, but it did see release in Europe as the Flip-Side of their third single, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (the second under the name of The Who).

The Who's upbeat number was released on May 21 of 1965 on Brunswick in their native UK. Keith Moon's tin-can drum kit gets beaten to a pulp and Pete turns in some very fine single string lead work to make this a pill-infused mod raver. Roger is still in his "growl" phase and is supported nicely by John and Pete doing their best Marvelettes impersonation. From live recordings I've heard, I can say definitively, that this studio recording successfully captures The Who's live sound at this stage of their career.

Daddy Rolling Stone was written by Otis Blackwell and was his first release in 1953 for the Jay-Dee label. Blackwell's original is a slow brooding number with strong jazz undertones. Otis Blackwell was a prolific writer of many of the songs we consider standards. All Shook Up, Return To Sender and Don't Be Cruel for Elvis Presley, Great Balls of Fire and Breathless for Jerry Lee Lewis, Fever for Little Willie John are just a few of the notables.

Enjoy and we'll see you on the Flip-Side. 


  1. Yeah, these are both great! I'm looking forward to the rest.

  2. Huge thank you to you, Rusi, for stopping by. Just seeing your name on here makes me smile. Stop by tomorrow -- and the rest of the week -- and we'll have more for you to groove on.

  3. Listening more closely, it sounds to me like Pete makes two mistakes coming out of the guitar solo at 1:43 and again at 1:49. He seems to be in a sympathetic but improper key both times. Perhaps he's in the V and the rest of the band is in the I. ?