About The Song

Jimmie Rodgers’ “Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel #9)”, a true gem from the golden age of American music. Released in 1930, this song sits at the crossroads of country and blues, a perfect embodiment of Rodgers’ signature style – a blend of yodeling vocals, playful lyrics, and a driving guitar rhythm.

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“Standing on the Corner” isn’t just a catchy tune, it’s a snapshot of a bygone era. The opening line, “Standin’ on the corner, I didn’t mean no harm,” throws us right into the heart of the story. Our narrator, a self-proclaimed “Tennessee hustler,” finds himself confronted by a Memphis policeman on the bustling corner of Beale and Main, a location that even today resonates with musical history.

Rodgers’ vocal delivery is a masterclass in charisma. His signature yodel, that high-pitched, swooping vocal technique, injects a playful energy into the song. Listen closely, and you can almost hear a wink in his voice as he tells the officer, “You’ll find my name on the tail of my shirt. I’m a Tennessee hustler, and I don’t have to work.” Here, Rodgers paints a vivid picture of this carefree character, a man who lives by his own rules, unfazed by authority.

“Standing on the Corner” isn’t without its swagger. The lyrics boast of a loyal woman who “paid a hundred cash dollars just for me, a suit of clothes.” This image speaks to the pride and confidence of our narrator, a man who’s clearly well-regarded by his woman. And when she shows up, packing “a forty-four in each hand,” to clear a path for her man, it further emphasizes their fierce loyalty and their place in this vibrant, sometimes dangerous world.

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This song’s importance goes far beyond its catchy melody. “Standing on the Corner” is considered a foundational work in the development of rock and roll. The driving rhythm, the playful lyrics with their underlying defiance, and the fusion of blues and country influences all laid the groundwork for the music that would explode a few decades later.

It’s no wonder the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included “Standing on the Corner” in their list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

So, when you listen to “Standing on the Corner”, you’re not just hearing a great song. You’re experiencing a piece of American musical history, a time capsule that takes you back to the bustling streets of Memphis, and introduces you to a captivating character who embodies the spirit of a bygone era.

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