It’s my birthday, so I checked out This Day in Music, which said that Junior Parker — who wrote “Mystery Train” — was born on this day in 1927. In some cases, a person writes a great song that becomes a standard, though his or her version is not so great. Not the case here: The song is both: It is a classic and has been covered by Elvis and many, many others. Parker’s version is great in its own right.
There is a problem, though: Wikipedia says he was born on May 27, 1932.
No matter. Here is more on Parker, whose real name was Herman Parker, Jr.:
In 1951 he formed his own band, the Blue Flames, with the guitarist Pat Hare. Parker was discovered in 1952 by Ike Turner, who signed him to Modern Records. He put out one single on this record label, “You’re My Angel.” This brought him to the attention of Sam Phillips, and he and his band signed with Sun Records in 1953. There they produced three successful songs: “Feelin’ Good” (which reached #5 on the US BillboardR&Bchart), “Love My Baby,” and “Mystery Train“, later covered by Elvis Presley. For Presley’s version of “Mystery Train”, Scotty Moore borrowed the guitar riff from Parker’s “Love My Baby”, played by Pat Hare. “Love My Baby” and “Mystery Train” are considered important contributions to the rockabilly genre. (Continue Reading…)
Parker was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.