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Little Willie John


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Little Willie John (William Edward John, November 15, 1937 - May 26, 1968), was an American Rhythm & Blues singer who performed in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Many sources erroneously give his middle name as Edgar. He is best known for his popular music chart successes with songs such as, “All Around the World” (1955), “Need Your Love So Bad” (1956) and “Fever” the same year, the latter covered in 1958 by Peggy Lee. An important figure in early R&B music, Little Willie John was a 1996 Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He was born in Cullendale, Arkansas, one of ten children, his family moving to Detroit, Michigan when he was four so that his father could pursue factory work. In the late 1940s, the eldest children, including Willie, formed a gospel singing group, and Willie also performed in talent shows, which brought him to the notice of Johnny Otis and, later, musician and producer Henry Glover. After seeing him sing with the Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams orchestra, Glover signed him to a recording contract with King Records in 1955. He was nicknamed “Little Willie” John for his short stature.
His first recording, a version of Titus Turner’s “All Around the World”, was a hit, reaching # 5 on the Billboard R&B chart. He followed up with a string of R&B hits, including the original version of “Need Your Love So Bad”, written by his elder brother Mertis John Jr. One of his biggest hits, “Fever” (1956) (Pop #24), was more famously covered by Peggy Lee in 1958. However, John’s version alone sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.


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  • OG-Gurda

    impressive discography. Rating him highly

    26 Mar 7:56am Reply
  • IamFlood

    You'd think Jack White's horrid cover would bring people back to the source.

    2 Oct 2013 Reply
  • richardneal

    One of James Brown's inspirations

    6 Aug 2012 Reply
  • DeJMoreno

    @ ameliful: I believe it's on "Talk to me", just in case you have not found it yet...

    3 Dec 2011 Reply
  • ameliful

    Can anyone help me to find Willie John's song ''Look What You've Done To Me''???

    3 Aug 2011 Reply
  • Hxcc10r

    incredible. Where has this music been all my life?!

    14 Jul 2011 Reply
  • noiresque

    This guy is magic. He resembles a Nina Simone , a Tracy Chapman, an Antony or a Prince, yet is true to his own self stylings.

    11 May 2011 Reply
  • ShiningStar911

    ♥ ♥ ♥ My God, this voice can't be forgotten ♥ ♥ ♥

    3 Feb 2011 Reply
  • Coop123

    great voice. doesnt anyone think he looks a bit like hendrix?

    27 Mar 2010 Reply
  • chesterdox

    I'm Shakin' is one of the all-time best songs. ever.

    2 Mar 2010 Reply
  • jinxnscooter

    amazing / brilliant an absolute must for everyones collection "love life and money" is one of those classic blue/rock traxs CHECK HIM OUT!! you are missin out on a great thing

    22 Oct 2009 Reply
  • FuntimeMusic

    amazing. will never be able to get enough...

    6 Apr 2009 Reply
  • alinevida


    18 Feb 2009 Reply
  • drsfp

    Bad temper, sad story. F@#$ing great music!

    28 Oct 2008 Reply
  • Babalugats

    one of the best voices of all time

    10 Oct 2008 Reply
  • epi_gee

    Friends in good music please join me on myspace : , hope to see you there. - EPG

    24 Apr 2008 Reply
  • wastedish

    amazing voice,songwriting ,and life story

    21 Oct 2007 Reply
  • TANK_Ex_Mortis

    I'm Shakin' is like the greatest song ever okay?

    10 Sep 2006 Reply
  • All 22 shouts