This song is one of those epic one hit wonders that makes the whole concept of one hit wonders so strangely appealing. I would also argue that this song is also the greatest cover song of all time. Not that I’m much of an expert on cover songs. It did take me until my thirties to discover that most of Quiet Riot’s repertoire of hits was just covers of Slade staples. Meh, I stand by my assertion.
Originally a 40s era blues number titled “Mercury Boogie” this song has been covered multiple times by multiple artists in multiple genres. And we’re talking some pretty big name artists here; Steve Miller Band, Alan Jackson, and Dwight Yoakam to name a few. The version, though, that stands as the pinnacle of them all is the one performed by an obscure guitar player with a devoted cult following who turned this blues tune into a high energy rocker that is fabulous cranked to the edge of distortion.
I even own the entire album on which this version was released. It’s an, umm, interesting album but worth a listen if you’re curious, though that voice can wear on you after a while. And people say Geddy Lee’s voice is grating.
Consider your weekend kicked off with the guitar virtuosity of David Lindley and “Mercury Blues” from the 1981 release El Rayo X.