“Get Rhythm” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter and musician Johnny Cash. Released in 1959, the song was the flip-side to Cash’s first top hit “I Walk the Line”. On September 1969, “Get Rhythm” was re-released with overdubbed “live” recording effects. The song was an A-side single and reached number 60 on the Billboard Pop chart and peaked at number 23 on country charts.
Initially, Cash wrote the song for Elvis Presley when he was working in Sun Records. However, when Sam Phillips sold his interest in Presley to RCA, he did not allow Elvis to take rights for “Get Rhythm” with him. He then approved in recording it as the flip-side for “I Walk the Line”.
The song is about taking control of your thoughts and actions. When you are sad, replace your thoughts with actions that lift you up. It means we must consciously change the way we think in order to create happiness and sense of fulfillment in our life. A good thing about our brain is that it freely adopts any changes that we bring about in our thinking patterns. Just like this lines go.
Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues
C’mon get rhythm, when you get the blues
A jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine
It’ll shake all the troubles from your worried mind,
Get rhythm, when you get the blues.
The narrator of the song is giving an encouragement to a shoeshine boy who “gets rhythm” to cope with the tedious nature of his job.
In 1991, Martin Delray made a cover of the song on his debut album. His track also had the title “Get Rhythm”. Released as his debut single, Delray’s version featured guest vocals from Cash, as well as a guest appearance by him in the music video. It peaked at number 27 on the country charts.
Some of the Notable covers came from a British pub rock band, Dr. Feelgood, in 1986. He released a cover of it on their album Brilleaux. The other one was by the guitarist Ry Cooder on his album Get Rhythm released in November 1987.