Johnny Cash – Get Rhythm (lyrics)

Lyrics:

[Chorus 1]
Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
Get a rock and’ roll feeling in your bones
Put taps on your toes and get gone
Get rhythm when you get the blues

[Verse 1]
A Little shoeshine boy he never gets low down
But he’s got the dirtiest job in town
Bending low at the peoples feet
On the windy corner of the dirty street
Well, I asked him while he shined my shoes
How’d he keep from getting the blues
He grinned as he raised his little head
Popped a shoeshine rag and then he said

[Chorus 2]
Get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
A jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine
It’ll shake all your trouble from your worried mind
Get rhythm when you get the blues

[Chorus 1]
Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
Get a rock and’ roll feeling in your bones
Put taps on your toes and get gone
Get rhythm when you get the blues

[Verse 2]
Well, I sat down to listen to the shoeshine boy
And I thought I was going to jump for joy
Slapped on the shoe polish left and right
He took a shoeshine rag and he held it tight
He stopped once to wipe the sweat away
I said you’re a mighty little boy to be-a working that way
He said I like it with a big wide grin
Kept on a popping and he said again

[Chorus 3]
Get rhythm when you get the blues
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues
It only costs a dime, just a nickel a shoe
Does a million dollars worth of good for you
Get rhythm when you get the blues

 

Image result for johnny cash get rhythm

 

“Get Rhythm” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter and musician Johnny Cash. It was originally released as the B-side to the single release “I Walk the Line” in 1956 on Sun 241. It was re-released with overdubbed “live” effects in September 1969 as an A-side single and reached number 60 on the Billboard Pop chart.

Content

The song is about optimism, centering on a shoeshine boy who “gets rhythm” to cope with the tedious nature of his job.

Critical reception

Alice Randall in the book “My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America’s Original Outsider Music” asks the question, “racist, racialist, or race appreciating? You decide. Maybe the grinning “boy” hides something worth knowing in his mask as well as behind his mask.”[3]

Chart performance

“Get Rhythm” was released in 1956 as the B-side to Cash’s first Number One hit, “I Walk the Line.” In 1969, the original recording of “Get Rhythm” was released as a single itself, with sound effects dubbed in to simulate the sound of a live recording.[1] This rerelease went to #23 on the country charts.

Chart (1969) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 23
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 60
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 59
Preceded by
To See My Angel Cry
by Conway Twitty
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

November 15-November 22, 1969
Succeeded by
Groovy Grubworm
by Harlow Wilcox

Cover versions

Martin Delray version

“Get Rhythm”
Single by Martin Delray
from the album Get Rhythm
B-side “The Very Thought of You”
Released 1991
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 2:52
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Johnny Cash
Producer(s) Blake Mevis, Nelson Larkin
Martin Delray singles chronology
“Temptation”
(1985)
Get Rhythm
(1991)
“Lillie’s White Lies”
(1991)

In 1991, Martin Delray recorded a cover of the song on his debut album, also entitled Get Rhythm. Released as his debut single, Delray’s version featured guest vocals from Cash, as well as a guest appearance by him in the music video.[6] It peaked at #27 on the country charts.

Chart performance

Chart (1991) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 18
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 27

Other cover versions

  • In 1986 British pub rock band Dr. Feelgood released a cover on their album Brilleaux.
  • A cover by the guitarist Ry Cooder on his album Get Rhythm released in November 1987
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