There just ain’t no cure
So what exactly are the Summertime Blues and how actually do you get them?
If you’re Eddie Cochran, the co-writer of the song, you’re a rebellious ‘50s teen.
You have an evil boss who makes you work late, evil parents who won’t let you take the car to go a’ridin’ on Sunday and there’s an evil congressman who cares not what you think because you can’t vote.
There have been many versions, by Eddie himself, Ritchie Valens and even old Blue Cheer and the Who did a version. It’s hit the country charts with Alan Jackson and Gary Allan.
In the end, the singer takes his problems to the United Nations.
We don’t get to hear what happened, but I’m guessing nothing.
Because after all, it’s the United Nations.
But teens of the ‘50s should be proud, because kids today won’t go to the store much less the U.N.
Maybe they glimpsed a city council meeting once while channel surfing.
Of course, there’d be plenty of changes if the song were done nowadays.
The kid would get fired because he was on crystal meth, and couldn’t get a date because his parents put him in a shotgun wedding.
The congressman would probably still be evil.
After Valens’ death, a recording popped up on the Del-Fi label in 1961. You can get one song from it on Rhino Records’ “The Ritchie Valens Story” (1993).
A young girl approaches the stage and asks, “Can Ritchie come up here?”
So Ritchie walks up and says, “What’s this?”
“Can you please play Summertime Blues?”
“Well,” he says. “Yes ma’am.”
It was at Pacoima Junior High, a school Valens once attended.
Ritchie and his band launch into the song, very raw, poorly recorded and completely energetic.
It’s loud and rebellious. It’s rock and roll.
And he reminds us that there just ain’t no cure.
And that sometimes things disappear.
And then they come back.
And I kind of like that.