This song has its roots in the blues song Match Box Blues which was recorded in 1927 by Blind Lemon Jefferson. An earlier song, Lost Wandering Blues, recorded by Ma Rainey in 1924 has similar lyrics. Matchbox was written by Carl Perkins who recorded it in 1956. It was released as a single in 1957 and the B-side was Your True Love. The song features Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. A version by Jerry Lee Lewis was recorded live at The Star-Club in 1964. It was released on his album Live At The Star Club, Hamburg.
Matchbox was part of Rory Story & The Hurricanes’ repertoire and was sung by Ringo during Starrtime. The Beatles first recorded the song on a private tape in 1960. It became part of The Beatles repertoire and a live version recorded in 1962 appears on the 1977 album Live! At The Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962. The song was also performed live by George Harrison in September 1963 when he joined The Four Vest on stage in America. The Beatles recorded the song several times for BBC radio. One version appears on the 1994 album Live At The BBC. They recorded a studio version in 1964 with Carl Perkins in attendance. That version was released on the Long Tall Sally EP. The song was also part of the repertoire of Lee Curtis and The All-Stars and was sung by Pete Best.
John Lennon played the song during the Plastic Ono Band sessions in 1970. Ringo Starr performed the song with Carl Perkins during the TV special Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session. That version also features Eric Clapton but does not feature George Harrison. It was released in 1986 on the album of the same name. Ringo also made the song part of his repertoire. The song was performed live by Taj Mahal and The Graffiti Band in 1987. The band included George Harrison, Jesse Ed Davis and Bob Dylan among others. George shares lead vocals with Taj Mahal. Paul McCartney often plays Matchbox during his concert soundchecks and a version appears on his 1990 album Tripping The Live Fantastic. He performed the song live during his appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1991 but that version remains unreleased. Paul also played the song with Carl Perkins in the 1993 documentary My Old Friend.
Now Hear This : Matchbox – The Beatles (1964)
Matchbox – The Beatles (1977)
Matchbox – Carl Perkins And Friends (1986)
Matchbox – Paul McCartney (1990)
Matchbox – The Beatles (1994)