Why Jailhouse Rock is Gay
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
ELVIS made it a hit. It’s been covered by the Blues Brothers and many others. But Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s “Jailhouse Rock” is a very strange song indeed. It is all about homosexuality in prisons. There can be no question of that.
You see, it is set in a male prison. That’s right — a “Jailhouse”. There is only one gender — male. Jails tend to be set up like that, men with men, women with women.
Now, it seems that the authorities decided to throw a “party” for the inmates…
“The warden threw a party in the county jail..”
Soon “The joint was jumping and the place began to swing” — “swing”? really?
Yes, it seems the offenders were dancing with each other —
“Everybody on the whole cell block was dancing to the jailhouse rock”.
However, not everybody was dancing after all –Sad sack wasn’t…
“Sad Sack was sittin’ on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin’ all alone
The warden said Hey buddy don’t you be no square
If you can’t find a partner use a wooden chair”
We can only conclude that Sad Sack took the warden’s advice and either found a “partner” (another man), or else used a chair!
I have no idea what was intended by “The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang”, but I think it is pretty clear what was going on from this verse:
“Well number 47 said to number 3
You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see
I sure’ll be delighted with your company
Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me”
This is the only time I have ever heard reference of cuteness between men, let alone felons!
The fact that “Shifty Henry” and the chance to break-out and escape was foregone in favour of “Sticking around to get my kicks” is conclusive, don’t you think?