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by Brian Robin

The Songs of "Million Dollar Quartet"

Imagine looking at a jukebox in 1956 and having to decide between “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Who Do You Love?” Or putting your 15 cents in and having to pick between “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Great Balls of Fire.” How about choosing between “Sixteen Tons,” “That’s All Right” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.”

The beauty of seeing Outside SCR’s Million Dollar Quartet at Mission San Juan Capistrano, is you don’t have to choose. Four rock-and-roll legends do the choosing for you.

On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins gathered for one night at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis. The Tony Award-nominated musical takes you inside one of the greatest rock-and-roll jam sessions every recorded with the four legends.

All told, Million Dollar Quartet features 22 songs, spanning genres from rock to blues to rockabilly to country to gospel. Not surprisingly, the music is so popular that there’s even a Million Dollar Quartet Spotify channel devoted to it, with more than 21,000 monthly listeners.

What does the Million Dollar Quartet jukebox sound like? Here are the songs featured in the musical.

  • “Blue Suede Shoes,” music and lyrics by Carl L. Perkins.
  • “Real Wild Child,” music and lyrics by John O’Keefe, John Greenan and Dave Owens.
  • “Matchbox,” music and lyrics by Perkins.
  • “Who Do You Love”, music and lyrics by Elias McDaniel.
  • “Folsom Prison Blues,” music and lyrics by John R. Cash.
  • “Fever,” music and lyrics by Eddie Conley and Johnny Davenport.
  • “Memories Are Made of This,” music and lyrics by Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr and Frank Miller.
  • “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” music and lyrics by Chuck Berry.
  • “Down by the Riverside,” arranged by Chuck Mead.
  • “Sixteen Tons,” music and lyrics by Merle Travis.
  • “Long Tall Sally,” music and lyrics by Robert Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman.
  • “Peace in the Valley,” music and lyrics by Thomas A. Dorsey.
  • “I Walk the Line,” music and lyrics by Cash.
  • “I Hear You Knocking,” music and lyrics by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King
  • “Party,” music and lyrics by Jessie Mae Robinson.
  • “Great Balls of Fire,” music and lyrics by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer.
  • “Hound Dog,” music and lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
  • “Ghost Riders,” music and lyrics by Stan Jones.
  • “See You Later Alligator,” music and lyrics by Robert Guidry.
  • “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” music and lyrics by Curly Williams.

Directed by James Moye, Million Dollar Quartet runs July 30-August 21 at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is the lone Outside SCR production in 2022.

Learn more and buy tickets.

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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