Skip

Hey Joe, where you gonna run to now?
April 13, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Who wrote the song Hey Joe? Jimi Hendrix recorded the most famous version, but Hey Joe has been recorded by a bunch of artists including Love, The Leaves, The Byrds, The Music Machine, and Eddie Murphy(??!). The author of the song themed with infidelity, murder, and ultimately running from the law, is under dispute, which is well documented on Wikipedia. An mp3 blog called Used Bin Forever features a post about this subject including a mp3 of a mindblowing version by the 60's Japanese band, The Golden Cups.
posted by byronimation (27 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
willy deville did an excellent cover.

Often erroneously attributed to the pen of American musician Dino Valente (who also went by the names Chester Powers and Jesse Farrow), or as a "traditional" work, "Hey Joe" was registered for copyright in the USA in 1962 by Billy Roberts (William Moses Roberts Jr.). Roberts is the apparent author, and the song may have been written by him earlier. One source (singer Pat Craig), cited at heyjoe.org, claims that Roberts assigned the rights to the song to his friend Valente, while Valente was in jail, in order to give him some income upon release.
posted by Baud at 7:05 AM on April 13, 2007


I had always assumed the song was written by either Willie Dixon or Robert Johnson - I had no idea there was such controversy over who wrote it. Very interesting. Thanks, byronimation.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2007


The Hendrix version is one of my favorite songs of all time. Gives me goose bumps just thinking of it. I never realized there was such an interesting history to the song. Thanks.
posted by e40 at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2007


The Golden Cups? Very cool. I suspect they were Stooges fans.

Here's a direct link to the SendSpace file for those who had as hard a time finding the blue-on-blue link on the page.
posted by vhsiv at 7:13 AM on April 13, 2007


By all acounts Dino Valente (despite his not inconsiderable talent) was a notoriously difficult guy to get along with, so maybe he either stole the song out from under somebody or pissed somebody off so much that they stole it out from under him. So, it's a toss up. Hendrix's and The Leaves' versions are still the best imho, though.
posted by jonmc at 7:19 AM on April 13, 2007


Listening to the Golden Cups right now. Great, and getting greater as it goes on.

Hey, Joe is also a great novel by Ben Neihart.

My gosh, this Golden Cups song is still getting greater.

I'd like to conclude this comment by pointing out that, according to byronimation's link, there exists an Eddie Murphy cover of "Good Day Sunshine." Yikes.
posted by escabeche at 7:20 AM on April 13, 2007


I'm glad you are digging the Golden Cups version. I think the Love version is one of the best as well.
posted by byronimation at 7:27 AM on April 13, 2007


i remember when every band HAD to play this ... the other two must play songs were "louie, louie" and "gloria"

i'm afraid the golden cups simply can't touch this

dino valente, for those who don't know, also wrote "get together" which was a huge hit song for the youngbloods ... he also was a member of quicksilver messenger service, although due to legal problems he didn't actually play with them until 1970

his best known song with them was fresh air
posted by pyramid termite at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2007


Body Count, motherfuckers
posted by psmealey at 7:43 AM on April 13, 2007


Deep Purple
posted by TedW at 7:56 AM on April 13, 2007


the byrds at monterey pop? (warning - this kind of sucks)
posted by pyramid termite at 8:00 AM on April 13, 2007


My favourite version of Hey Joe is by the Bevis Frond, played at double-speed and featuring his pensioner mum on lead vocals. It's a winner.
posted by bifter at 8:05 AM on April 13, 2007


A helpful link.
posted by bifter at 8:08 AM on April 13, 2007


Oh, man, the Patti Smith version is pretty great too, despite the creepy Patty Hearst lyrics- released when Hearst was underground with the SLA, it makes a reference to her "gettin' it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women"- which always weirds me out, because it was ACTUALLY more like "kept in a closet and raped."
But the intro is amazing.
posted by 235w103 at 8:21 AM on April 13, 2007


Thanks byronimation!. I'm jamming to the Golden Cups version right now.
posted by schleppo at 8:26 AM on April 13, 2007


'The authorship of "Hey Joe" is disputed, and I asked Rose about this when he played St Helens Citadel in 1998: "When you're working in acoustic folk clubs, you hear bits and pieces by lots of singers. I heard "Hey Joe" one day but this guy, Vince, was singing it in a monotone all the way through. I added a verse and went up a third. I was essentially writing a new song but using the inspiration of the four or five lines that I heard. I know Chas Chandler, who managed Hendrix, played my version to Hendrix as he told me so, but I was not thrilled with what happened next.'
http://www.mathie.demon.co.uk/tr/obit.htm

There you go, it's Vince.
posted by emf at 8:41 AM on April 13, 2007


My favorite version is the Frank Zappa/MOI parody, "Flower Punk" on We're Only In It For The Money":

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that flower in your hand?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that flower in your hand?

Well, I'm goin' up to Frisco to join a psychedelic band.
I'm goin' up to Frisco to join a psychedelic band.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?

I'm goin' to the love-in to sit & play my bongos in the dirt.
Yes, I'm goin' to the love-in to sit & play my bongos in the dirt.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that hair on your head?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that hair on your head?

I'm goin' to the dance to get some action, then I'm goin' home to bed.
I'm goin' to the dance to get some action, then I'm goin' home to bed.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with those beads around your neck?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with those beads around your neck?

I'm goin' to the shrink so he can help me be a nervous wreck . . .

posted by papakwanz at 8:49 AM on April 13, 2007


dino valente, for those who don't know, also wrote "get together" which was a huge hit song for the youngbloods ... he also was a member of quicksilver messenger service, although due to legal problems he didn't actually play with them until 1970

He also wrote "Something on your mind", which Karen Dalton superbly covered to open her second album, "In your own time".
posted by hydatius at 9:20 AM on April 13, 2007


C'mon. Nick Cave, man. Nick Cave.
posted by katillathehun at 10:06 AM on April 13, 2007


A few months ago Chocoreve had two CDs' worth of Hey Joe covers. Some of these were awful, as you'd expect, but there were some surprises too. I really can't recall a fave right now, but you can't go wrong with Jimi really.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:00 AM on April 13, 2007


I do recall there was one great version where the killing had been altered to reference Vietnam, and the song ended with the line, "killing don't make a man". That was a good 'un.

Actually, my fave would probably be one that wasn't on either of those comps - "Hey OJ" by The Walking Timebombs ("hey OJ - where you going with that knife in your hand..."). A Google search reveals Scott wasn't alone in producing an OJ/Hey Joe connection but I believe he was there first and anyways this 'version' is great.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:14 AM on April 13, 2007


Wow, katillathehun, that is a surprising, surreal, and beautiful version of Hey Joe. I never expected Toots Theilmans, David Sanborn, and Nick Cave to play in the same room. And that appears to be Charlie Haden (ex-Ornette Coleman's band) on bass.
posted by ferdydurke at 11:28 AM on April 13, 2007


It is a pretty far-out combination, I gotta say. But then, Nick Cave could sing the back of a cereal box, and it would somehow be the coolest thing ever.
posted by katillathehun at 12:10 PM on April 13, 2007


the soulbenders had a regional hit with hey joe in 1967. it was on the radio all the time and us kids dug the hell out of it. jeff boughner and dick stiemle on guitar and aris hampers on keys. dick killed himself (an event of which i was not aware at the time) and boughner and hampers morphed the band into phlegathon. i was at the fountain street church gigs and the 1969 concert at the calder. aris went on to become a local radio personality on wlav-fm and was responsible for my progressive rock education - i used to sit up nights listening to his show which was where i first heard things like yes, marillion, wishbone ash and gentle giant. half a decade later i met and played with a guitarist named jim stiemle and i was astonished to find out that his big brother had been in the soulbenders and had committed suicide.

thanks for bringing all these memories back, byronimation!
posted by quonsar at 12:39 PM on April 13, 2007


by the way, that's randy marsh on drums in those phlegathon pix, who currently tours with the hammond b3 jazz trio organissimo. here's a YouTube.
posted by quonsar at 12:52 PM on April 13, 2007


i used to sit up nights listening to his show which was where i first heard things like yes, marillion, wishbone ash and gentle giant.

he also used to play "supper's ready" by genesis on a fairly regular basis ... i bet you couldn't get away with that these days

wasn't aware of the soulbenders, though ... back then, the top 40 varied from town to town, sometimes greatly, and i don't ever recall hearing a local band on wkfr in battle creek ... well, unless you count jr walker and the all stars and del shannon, but they were national
posted by pyramid termite at 1:33 PM on April 13, 2007


Stinkycheese, I thought I was the only one who'd ever heard that single!
posted by AJaffe at 6:51 PM on April 13, 2007


« Older I've got a special treat. It's not Fruit Roll-Ups.   |   Trail Trees Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post