Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Tore Up vs. Tore Down? Musical Retort, Possibly

On March 12, 1956 drummer and vocalist, Billy Gayles, recorded “I’m Tore Up” at Cincinnati’s King Studios backed by Ike Turner and His Rhythm Rockers:

“I’m Tore Up”

Billy Gayles (1956)

“I’m Torn Up” received a B from Cash Box  (“an okay deck”), who characterized the song as a “middle beat rock and roll side that fits right in the groove of things the kids want” in their April 28, 1956 review.  The single was particularly “hot” in Chicago (peaking at #2 on Cash Box‘s R&B chart for Nov. 17, 1956) and St. Louis (#7 for the week of Jul. 14, 1956).

Note the songwriting credits:

Ike Turner & Ralph Bass

Nearly five years later on January 18, 1961, guitarist and singer, Freddy King, recorded “I’m Tore Down” in the exact same location, along with Sonny Thompson on piano, Bill Willis on bass, two (possibly three) tenor horn players — and drummer, Philip Paul (profiled in depth here):

“I’m Tore Down”

Freddy King (1961)

Raise your hand if you hear Eric Clapton every time Freddy sings one of those high notes.  Did King (actually, Sonny Thompson) write “I’m Tore Down” as a playful riposte to the Gayles recording?


Goodbye 78s: 

The Slow Death of the 10-Inch Record

Interesting to note that the Gayles song from 1956 had also been issued as a 78 — but the same cannot be said for Freddy King’s 1961 single [King’s 1956 debut on El Bee Records, in fact, would be the only 78 release of his career].


LINK to Musical Fights on Zero to 180

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