Twenty Flight Rock
"Twenty Flight Rock" is a song originally performed by Eddie Cochran in the 1956 film comedy The Girl Can't Help It, and released as a single in 1957. The song was published in 1957 as written by Ned Fairchild and Eddie Cochran by American Music Incorporated and Campbell Connelly and Company. Eddie Cochran's contribution was primarily on the music. Cochran's version was rockabilly-flavored, but artists of all genres would cover the song, including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Heinz, Montrose, including rockabilly and psychobilly groups Stray Cats, Tiger Army and Zombie Ghost Train and Brazilians Coke Luxe version, "Vigesimo Andar".
The first version of "Twenty Flight Rock" was recorded by Cochran in July 1956 at Goldstar Studio, with Connie Smith on the bull fiddle and Jerry Capehart thumping a soup carton. Cochran re-recorded the song sometime between May to August 1957. This later version was released in the United States (Liberty 55112) with "Cradle Baby" as a flipside. It was a moderate seller, but was more popular in Europe and had steady sales for a long period.
The song follows the twelve-bar blues format, using the device of counting upwards ("One flight, two flight, three flight, four/five, six, seven flight, eight flight, more") in the refrain in a manner similar to "Rock Around the Clock". The lyrics end on a surprisingly morbid note relative to other pop music songs of the time.
The barely 15-year-old Paul McCartney used "Twenty Flight Rock" as his first song when he auditioned for John Lennon on July 6, 1957 in Liverpool, England. The 16-year-old Lennon was impressed by the young McCartney's ability to play the song on the guitar during their first official introductions at St. Peter's Church Hall prior to a church garden fete. The good first impression of McCartney's performance led to an invitation to join The Quarrymen—John Lennon's band that would eventually evolve into The Beatles. On The Beatles Anthology, McCartney noted that: "I think what impressed him most was that I knew all the words."
Cochran performing "Twenty Flight Rock" appeared in the film The Girl Can't Help It, as a tongue-in-cheek example of the supposed lack of talent required to perform rock and roll. The guitar solo was edited out in the movie. The song also featured in the film "The Delinquents" (1989).
Musicians, 1956 version
- Eddie Cochran – guitar, vocals
- Connie "Guybo" Smith – double bass
- probably Jerry Capehart – box slapping
Musicians, 1957 version
- Eddie Cochran – guitars, vocals
- Perry Botkin, Sr. – rhythm guitar
- Connie "Guybo" Smith – double bass
- The Johnny Mann Chorus – backing vocals
- Vince Taylor and His Playboys recorded the song for an EP between 1961–1962.
- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen on the Album "Lost in the Ozone" released in 1971.
- Montrose on the album Warner Brothers Presents... Montrose! released in 1975.
- Robert Gordon w/ Link Wray on the album Fresh Fish Special released in 1978
- The Rolling Stones on the album "Still Life" (American Concert 1981) released in 1982
- Paul McCartney on the album Choba B CCCP released in 1988 in the USSR and 1991 worldwide. He also played it during some shows in his 1989–90 world tour and opened the two "Up Close" shows in December 1992 with this song.
- Tailgators on the album Tailgators released in 1990
- Lightnin' Willie and the Poorboys on the album Lightnin' Willie and the Poorboys released in 1994
- The song was covered by the Backbeat band for the 1994 film of the same name.
- Pyromanix on the album Searching for Rock el Roll released in 1997
- Stray Cats on the album Rock This Town released July 28, 1998
- Tiger Army on the album Tiger Army released on October 26, 1999
- Robert Gordon on the album Live released on May 4, 2000
- The Bunch on the album Rock On released on September 30, 2003
- Vic Ruggiero on the album Alive at the Ladybug House released in 2004
- Satellites on the album Mua Kiusaat Vain released on June 20, 2006
- The Shuteye Train on the album Rock and Roll with... released on September 11, 2006
- Dick Rivers on the album The Rock Machine released in 2008
- Conan O'Brien and Jack White covered "Twenty Flight Rock" with Conan's house band on November 8, 2010 during the premiere episode of Conan.
- Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney in a scene of 2010 Beatles-genesis biopic, Nowhere Boy.
- The Legendary Tigerman on the album True, released on 2014
- Philip Norman, John Lennon: The Life, Doubleday Canada, 2008, page 107 (ISBN 978-0-385-66100-3)