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The key group of the early-'80s rockabilly revival, the Stray Cats scored several big hits on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to a striking visual style tailor-made for the early days of MTV, as well as genuine musical chops that evoked the best players of rockabilly's original heyday. The Stray Cats were formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer in the Long Island town of Massapequa, NY, in 1979. At first, Setzer played rockabilly covers in a band called the Tom Cats with his drumming brother Gary and bassist Bob Beecher; however, Setzer soon abandoned that group to join up with newly rechristened school friends Lee Rocker (born Leon Drucker) and Slim Jim Phantom (born James McDonnell). However, their retro '50s look and sound didn't go over well around Long Island, and in the summer of 1980 the group headed to England, where a rockabilly revival movement was just beginning to emerge.


After one of their gigs in London, the Stray Cats met producer Dave Edmunds, well known as a roots rock enthusiast for his work with Rockpile and as a solo artist. Edmunds offered to work with the group, and they entered the studio to record their self-titled debut album, released in England in 1981 on Arista. They were popular right out of the box, scoring three straight hits that year with "Runaway Boys," "Rock This Town," and "Stray Cat Strut." The follow-up, Gonna Ball, wasn't as well received, and stung by the negative reviews, the Stray Cats decided to return to the States and make a go of it. They signed with EMI America and in 1982 released their U.S. debut, Built for Speed, which compiled the highlights from their two British LPs. Helped by extensive airplay on MTV at the height of the anything-goes new wave era, "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut" both hit the American Top Ten, over a year after their British chart peaks. As a result, Built for Speed was a left-field smash, and the Stray Cats were seen as avatars of retro style. Their second American album, Rant n' Rave With the Stray Cats, appeared in 1983 and produced another Top Ten hit in "(She's) Sexy + 17," as well as a minor Top 40 entry in the doo wop-styled ballad "I Won't Stand in Your Way."

Personality conflicts began to emerge in the ways the individual members handled their newfound success; Phantom married actress (and former Rod Stewart paramour) Britt Ekland, while Setzer made guest appearances with stars like Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks and became the concert guitarist for Robert Plant's Honeydrippers side project. In late 1984, Setzer broke up the band amid much bad blood. Rocker and Phantom immediately teamed up with guitarist Earl Slick and recorded an album as Phantom, Rocker & Slick, while Setzer waited a couple of years before releasing his roots rock solo debut, The Knife Feels Like Justice. By 1986, fences had apparently been mended enough for the Stray Cats to reconvene in Los Angeles and record the


covers-heavy Rock Therapy, which didn't sell that well. The trio returned to their respective post-Stray Cats projects, which both released albums that performed

disappointingly. In 1989, they reunited once again for the album Blast Off, which was accompanied by a tour with Stevie Ray Vaughan. No longer with EMI, the Cats entered the studio with Nile Rodgers for the lackluster Let's Go Faster, issued by Liberation in 1990. 1992's Dave Edmunds-produced Choo Choo Hot Fish also attracted little attention, and after another covers album, Original Cool, the group called it quits again. They have since reunited periodically for live performances. Setzer, of course, went on to spearhead the '90s swing revival with his Brian Setzer Orchestra, which performed classic big band swing and jump blues tunes, as well as Setzer originals.

Current members

  • Brian Setzer-vocals, guitars, percussion
  • Lee Rocker- slap bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Slim Jim Phantom-drums, percussion

Past members

  • Brian Setzer
  • Bob Beecher
  • Gary Setzer
  • Lee Rocker
  • Slim Jim Phantom
  • Tommy Byrnes


YearAlbum Track Listings

Stray Cats

  • Released February 1981
  • Recorded 1980-1981
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Length 37:11
  • Label Arista
  • Producer Dave Edmunds


  1. "Runaway Boys" ~ (Brian Setzer, Jimmy McDonnell) - 3:03
  2. "Fishnet Stockings" ^ (Brian Setzer) - 2:25
  3. "Ubangi Stomp" ^ (Charles Underwood) - 3:14
  4. "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" ~ (George Motola, Ricky Page) - 2:21
  5. "Storm The Embassy" ^ (Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom) - 4:08
  6. "Rock This Town" ~ (Dave Edmunds, Brian Setzer) - 3:28
  7. "Rumble in Brighton" ^ (Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom) - 3:16
  8. "Stray Cat Strut" ~ (Brian Setzer) - 3:16
  9. "Crawl Up and Die" (Brian Feli, Jim Feli) - 3:13
  10. "Double Talkin' Baby" ~ (Danny Wolfe) - 3:05
  11. "My One Desire" ~ (Dorsey Burnette) - 2:57
  12. "Wild Saxophone" ^ (Roy Montrell, John Marascalco, Robert Blackwell) - 3:01

~ produced by Dave Edmunds and ^ produced by Brian Setzer & Stray Cats

Gonna Ball

  • Released October 1981
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Label Arista
  • Producer Stray Cats, Hein Hoven


All tracks composed by Brian Setzer; except where indicated

  1. "Baby Blue Eyes" (Johnny Burnette, Paul Burlison)
  2. "Little Miss Prissy"
  3. "Wasn't That Good" (Wynonie Harris)
  4. "Cryin' Shame"
  5. "(She'll Stay Just) One More Day" (Slim Jim Phantom, Lee Rocker)
  6. "You Don't Believe Me" (Setzer, Lee Rocker)
  7. "Gonna Ball"
  8. "Wicked Whisky"
  9. "Rev It Up and Go"
  10. "Lonely Summer Nights"
  11. "Crazy Mixed-Up Kid"

Built for Speed

  • Released June 7, 1982
  • Recorded 1981-1982
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Length 36:15
  • Label EMI America
  • Producer Dave Edmunds (tracks 1, 4, 7, 9, 11), Stray Cats and Hein Hoven (track 2), Stray Cats (tracks 3, 5-6, 8, 10, 12)


All tracks written by Brian Setzer except as indicated.

Side one

  1. "Rock This Town" – 3:24
  2. "Built for Speed" – 2:53
  3. "Rev It Up & Go" – 2:27
  4. "Stray Cat Strut" – 3:15
  5. "Little Miss Prissy" – 2:59
  6. "Rumble in Brighton" (Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom) – 3:11

Side two

  1. "Runaway Boys" (Setzer, Phantom)– 2:58
  2. "Lonely Summer Nights" – 3:16
  3. "Double Talkin' Baby" (Danny Wolfe) – 3:02
  4. "You Don't Believe Me" (Setzer, Phantom, Lee Rocker) – 2:54
  5. "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" (George Motola, Ricky Page) – 2:18
  6. "Baby Blue Eyes" (Paul Burlison, Johnny Burnette)– 2:47

Rant N' Rave with the Stray Cats

  • Released 1983
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Length 30:37
  • Label EMI America
  • Producer Dave Edmunds


All tracks composed by Brian Setzer; except where indicated

  1. "Rebels Rule"
  2. "Too Hip, Gotta Go"
  3. "Look at That Cadillac"
  4. "Something's Wrong With My Radio" (Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom, Lee Rocker)
  5. "18 Miles To Memphis"
  6. "(She's) Sexy + 17"
  7. "Dig Dirty Doggie"
  8. "I Won't Stand in Your Way"
  9. "Hotrod Gang"
  10. "How Long You Wanna Live, Anyway?" (Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom, Lee Rocker)
  11. "Lucky Charm (Ooh Wee Suzy)" (Japan Release Bonus Track)

Rock Therapy

  • Released Aug 5 1986
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Label EMI America
  • Producer Dave Edmunds


  1. Rock Therapy
  2. Reckless
  3. Race With The Devil
  4. Looking For Someone To love
  5. I Wanna Cry
  6. I'm A Rocker
  7. Beautiful Delilah
  8. One Hand Loose
  9. Broken Man
  10. Change of Heart

Blast Off!

  • Released March 27 1989
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Label Imports
  1. Blast Off
  2. Gina
  3. Everybody Needs Rock and Roll
  4. Gene and Eddie
  5. Rockabilly Rules
  6. Bring It Back Again
  7. Slip, Slip, Slippin' In
  8. Rockabilly World
  9. Rockin' All Over The Place
  10. Nine Lives

Let's Go Faster!

  • Released 19 Dec 1990
  • Genre Rock & Roll, Rockabilly
  • Label InsideOut
  1. Cross of Love
  2. Town Without Pity
  3. Shotgun Baby
  4. Struck By Lightning Twice
  5. Thing About You
  6. Baby Don't Drag Me Down
  7. Tight Black Leather
  8. Give It To Me
  9. Let's Go Faster
  10. Keep On Running
  11. Runaway Train

Choo Choo Hot Fish

  • Released May 22, 1992
  • Recorded Pyramid Recording Studios, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
  • Genre Rockabilly
  • Length 43:05
  • Label Great Pyramid Records
  • Producer Dave Edmunds


  1. Elvis On Velvet
  2. Crybaby
  3. Please Don't Touch
  4. Sleepwalk
  5. Lust n Love
  6. Beautiful Blues
  7. Cross of Love
  8. Can't Go Back To Memphis
  9. Jade Idol
  10. My Heart Is a Liar
    Mystery Train

Original Cool

  • Released 1993
  • Genre Rock & Roll, Rockabilly
  • Label Essential
  • Producer Dave Edmunds


  1. Somethin' Else
  2. Oh Boy
  3. 20 Flight Rock
  4. I Fought The Law
  5. Lonesome Tears
  6. Your True Love
  7. Be-Bop-A-Lula
  8. Blue Jean Bop
  9. Can't Help Falling In Love
  10. Flying Saucers Rock 'n Roll
  11. Train Kept A Rollin'
  12. Stood Up
  13. Let It Rock
  14. Trying To Get To You
  15. Chet Ditty (Hidden Charms)

Rumble in Brixton

  • Released: 2004
  • Label: Surfdog Records
  1. Intro 0:43
  2. 18 Miles to Memphis 3:45
  3. Rumble in Brighton 3:15
  4. Bring It Back Again 3:01
  5. Double Talkin’ Baby 3:34
  6. Fishnet Stockings 4:09
  7. Something’s Wrong With My Radio 3:15
  8. Runaway Boys 3:53
  9. Ubangi Stomp 3:39
  10. Stray Cat Strut 4:03
  11. Rock This Town 6:28
  12. That's All Right 2:43
  13. Gene & Eddie 4:33
  14. Too Hip Gotta Go 2:43
  15. Good Rockin’ Tonight 2:42
  16. Sleepwalk 4:09
  17. Twenty Flight Rock 3:39
  18. (She’s) Sexy + 17 4:00
  19. I Won’t Stand in Your Way 4:42
  20. Please Don’t Touch 3:49
  21. My Baby Left Me 3:59
  22. Blast Off 3:01
  23. Mystery Train Kept a Rollin’ (studio) 4:12


"Runaway Boys" 1980 Stray Cats
"Rock This Town 1981
"Stray Cat Strut
"You Don't Believe Me" Gonna Ball
"Little Miss Prissy"
"Baby Blue Eyes" 1982
"Rebels Rule" 1983 Rant 'N Rave with the Stray Cats
"(She's) Sexy + 17"
"I Won't Stand In Your Way"
"Look At That Cadillac" 1984
"Bring It Back Again" 1989 Blast Off!
"Gene & Eddie"
"Elvis On Velvet" 1992 Choo Choo Hot Fish
"Can't Help Fallling In Love" 1993 Original Cool
"Mystery Train Kept A Rollin'" 2004 Rumble in Brixton







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for all us blood suckers out there!!!!

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