For several years in the early 1980s, the Stray Cats dominated the world of rock and roll, giving us Top Ten hits like Stray Cat Strut and Rock this Town. MTV could not get enough of the band and found their retro fashion undeniably appealing. Unfortunately, the Stray Cats fell almost as fast as they had risen and had fallen completely apart by the late 80s. Their breakup, while tragic, did not erase the indelible mark they had left on the industry and their hand in making rockabilly mainstream once more. Let’s rank ten Stray Cats Songs from good to legendary.
10. You Don’t Believe Me
You Don’t Believe Me is a song from the Gonna Ball album, which the Stray Cats released in 1981. It is a very catchy tune that you can dance and listen to over and over again without getting bored.
9. Little Miss Prissy
Also part of the Gonna Ball album, Little Miss Prissy is a blues song with amazing, relatable lyrics. Many critics believe it contains Chuck Berry influences, and whether it does or not, you can be sure that it will melt your heart. This is one song that screams the Stray Cats.
8. Cry Baby
Cry Baby was released in 1992 as part of the Choo Choo Hot Fish album. It is a very catchy tune with a smooth and upbeat melody that is sure to keep ringing in your mind. As the second song on the album, Cry Baby was an instant classic, and the Stray Cat’s sound on it is timeless. This non-retro rockabilly tune features Edmunds on duet vocals and second guitar working his usual magic. Overall, it is a tune you are not likely to forget any time soon.
7. Beautiful Blues
Beautiful Blues is another track from Choo Choo Hot Fish. In fact, it is often considered the best song from the entire album. Co-written by Larson Paine, Beautiful Blues is a jazzy tune with rich chords, excellent brushwork from the amazing Slim Jim, a mind-blowing solo, and a gypsy melody. The drum kit on the tune might appear simple, but Slim Jim’s performance will blow your mind. Generally, Beautiful Blues is a beautiful song – both in lyrics, instruments, and composition.
6. Storm the Embassy
Storm the Embassy was released in the 1981 album Stray Cats. Stray Cats released a live version of it in Rockpalast that is even better than the original and a true classic. While it is not a rockabilly tune, it is a sure rocker. In fact, Seltzer is said to have performed it in The Bloodless Pharaohs – his previous band – with different lyrics and under a different name: Boys Having Babies. Storm the Embassy talks about the American hostages during the 70s Iranian crisis and is considered rather political. Its accurate description of these events made sure that they could not perform it after 1981, which is sad because it is a true rock masterpiece.
5. Bring It Back Again
Released in the 1989 Blast Off! album “Bring it Back Again is arguably the best song in the Stray Cats’ repertoire. It is a definite earworm that will have you nodding and humming along in no time, especially thanks to the amazing vocals. The Stray Cats love performing this piece and have performed it live during their 1989, 2004, and 2007 tours, as well as their 2008 farewell tour, where Lee Rocker took the lead. On the charts, it peaked at number 64 in the UK and 35 in the US Rock charts. Bring it Back Again was co-written by Jonnie Barnett.
4. Rebels Rule
Rebels Rule was released in 1983 on the Rant n’ Rave with the Stray Cats album. The song has beautiful lyrics with deep meanings that you can interpret however you like. In fact, this is one of the most soulful songs from the Stray Cats and is a great place to start your experience of the band. Slim Jim delivers a masterful performance – as always – and Diddley’s beats are ethereal. You will never forget the sound of Setzer yelling, “Rock n Roll is never too loud!”
3. Look at that Cadillac
Part of the Rant N’ Rave with The Stray Cats album, Look at the Cadillac, was released in 1983. It is a pure rock song displaying the Stray Cats’ impressive songwriting abilities. The lyrics are so good you will feel like you are listening to poetry. While the content might not be very original, Setzer will impress you with his vocal range as he explains how much he needs a Cadillac. The genius piano and saxophone playing will also blend with the rhythmic pattern played by Setzer to produce exciting music.
2. Rumble in Brighton
The Stray Cats released Rumble in Brighton in 1981 as part of the Stray Cats album. Opening the B-side, this tune offers great lyrics and rhythm in a perfect melody. The song itself is very meaningful and features a hypnotic riff with wild instruments. If you listen closely, you might catch the “Ein, Swei, Drei, Vier” yell from Setzer, but this will depend on the pressing. Either way, this was an amazing piece by the band.
1. Lucky Charm (oh Wee Suzie)
Lucky Charm (oh Wee Suzie) is considered one of the best songs ever written by the Stray Cats. Setzer delivers perfect vocals and guitar performances while the rest of the band works hard on the piano and saxophones. Overall, Lucky Charm (oh Wee Suzie) is a swinging, rocking melody featuring a solo from each of the musicians on the band and a marvelous bass break at the end. Geraint Watkins’s part is particularly notable and brings the entire performance together.