Chart Performance: Pop (#9); 1982
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
Europe’s well-known love of American music enabled three displaced Yanks to find an audience for their personal take on the mid-1950’s Southern hybrid of early rock ‘n’ roll known as rockabilly. Brian Setzer, Leon “Lee Rocker” Drucher, and Jim “Jim Phantom” McDonell originally performed under various names (the Tom Cats one week, the Bob Cats the next) in order to get hired at New York clubs reluctant to book the same act week after week. After moving to England, the three were always homeless and hungry so Lee dubbed them the Stray Cats. Finally, musician/producer Dave Edmunds signed on to produce them. The band scored hits in the U.K., including the Setzer-penned Rock This Town in early ’81, however, Americans had to wait until mid-1982 when the Cats’ Built For Speed album was released stateside. In December, fueled by striking videos featuring Brian doing his best Eddie Cochran impression, Rock matched its UK chart peak at #9.
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- Dave Edmunds
Lyrics Written by:
- Brian Setzer