Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On


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On 9 September 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis hit the top of the R&B and Country charts with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” (The song would later hit #3 on the Pop chart, too.)
 
 

 
 
Big-Maybelle.2Lewis had recorded the song at Sun Records, in Memphis, back in February. He said he knew it was going to be a hit, but that Sam Phillips thought it was too risqué and wouldn’t be successful.

“If that’s risqué,” Lewis is reported to have said, “well, I’m sorry.”

While Jerry Lee Lewis is responsible for the driving boogie piano line that is so much of the song as we know it today, his was not the original version of the song.

That credit may go to Big Maybelle, Mabel Louise Smith, who recorded the song back in 1955, two years before Lewis, for Okeh records with a producer named Quincy Jones.
 
Big Maybelle
 
(Roy Hall also recorded the song in 1955, for Decca Records. And for the record, his publicity photo is not half as cute as Big Maybelle’s.)
 
 
Posted by Seán Collins on 9 Sept 2013


About Seán Collins

Seán Collins a veteran radio producer and web content manager. He served as the Senior Producer of NPR's All Things Considered for many years. He is Music Inside Out's web producer and manages social media for the program. He lives in Saint Louis.