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Blue Cheer

Either named after a laundry detergent (unlikely) or a type of LSD, Blue Cheer was, for a brief period, the loudest band in the world. The Who, Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad would later blast decibels that would dwarf Blue Cheer, but in '68 they were the kings. The trouble was "loud" did not directly correlate with "good."

Not to worry. Blue Cheer did have the wisdom to hang their hopes on one of the most durable songs in history. Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" has been Rocked up and slammed down.

Somewhere in the video vaults there is a TV performance featuring Blue Cheer. There is a side shot of the trio (guitar/bass/drums) and they are thrashing away but all you can see are noses sticking out from the haystack hair. Their version of "Summertime Blues" omitted the "voice of authority" ("like to help ya son but you're too young to vote" and "you can't use the car 'cause you didn't work ah-late") and replaced it with a screeching guitar. Also, the original Cochran shuffle beat was dumped in favor of a full on Metal attack.

The original group consisted of Leigh Stephens (guitar), Dickie Peterson (bass/vocals) and Paul Whaley (drums). Group turmoil and personnel changes were often used as excuses for Blue Cheer's quick fade. But there was the nagging suspicion the group had only one classic performance in them and '68's "Summertime Blues" was it. For the record The Who performed "Summertime Blues" live at Leeds (on the album of the same name) a couple of years later and that became the definitive Hard Rock version. But give Blue Cheer style points for thinking of it first.
Blue Cheer  Discography


1968 Vincebus Eruptum
1968 Outsideinside
1969 New! Improved! Blue Cheer
1969 Blue Cheer
1970 The Original Human Being
1971 Oh! Pleasant Hope
1984 The Beast Is Back
1990 Highlights And Lowlives
1991 Dining With The Sharks
2007 What Doesn't Kill You...

Calling Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues" a cover isn't exactly accurate. They annihilated the song and in doing so laid the foundation for Heavy Metal. It is available on numerous Rock compilations. If you want more there's "The Good Times Are So Hard To Find: The History Of Blue Cheer."

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