Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Originally recorded by Big Maybelle (1955).
Also recorded by Roy Hall (1955).
Hit version by Jerry Lee Lewis (US #3/C&W #1/R&B #1/UK #38 1957).

From the wiki: “The origins of the song are disputed, but the writing is co-credited to singer/songwriter Dave ‘Curlee’ Williams and pianist, bandleader, and songwriter James Faye ‘Roy’ Hall. Big Maybelle made the first recording of it in March 1955 for Okeh Records, in a session produced by Quincy Jones.

“Roy Hall made a recording of the song in September 1955 for Decca Records and maintained that he had written it. Hall secured the legal copyright as co-writer under the pseudonym of ‘Sunny David’. However, a Decca sample copy of Hall’s recording lists Dave Williams as the sole writer. All subsequent recordings of the song (including Lewis’ recording for Sun Records) list the composers as Sunny David and Dave Williams. (Hall was also a Nashville club owner, who later claimed to have employed the young piano player Lewis at some point around 1954.)

“Jerry Lewis had been performing the song as part of his stage act and wound up recording it at his second recording session for Sun Records in February 1957. He radically altered the original, adding a propulsive boogie piano that was complemented by energetic drumming, and Lewis also added suggestive spoken asides. Lewis later stated: ‘I knew it was a hit when I cut it. Sam Phillips thought it was gonna be too risqué, it couldn’t make it. If that’s risqué, well, I’m sorry.’

“Lewis became an instant sensation. His version reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. It also hit #1 on the country charts. In the UK, it reached #38. The recording is ranked as the 61st Greatest Song of All-Time by Rolling Stone magazine.”

Roy Hall, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1955):

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957):

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” The Steve Allen Show live TV performance (1957):

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