Little Willie John


Little Willie John

Infobox musical artist
Name = Little Willie John


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Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = William Edward John
Alias =
Born = November 15, 1937
Died = death date and age|1968|5|26|1938|11|15
Origin = Cullendale, Arkansas, USA
Instrument =
Voice_type =
Genre =
Occupation =
Years_active = 1950s - 1968
Label = King Records
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Little Willie John (November 15, 1937May 26, 1968) was an American R&B singer of the 1950s and early 1960s, best known for his hits "All around the World" (1955) and the much-covered "Fever" (1956), a tune copied by Peggy Lee and made famous in 1958.cite book |last= Fox |first= Ted |title= Showtime at the Apollo |publisher= Da Capo |year= 1983 |isbn= 0-647-01612-2 |pages = pp 198–200]

History

He was born William Edgar John in Cullendale, Arkansas, but by 1953 was in the Detroit area, where he was discovered by Johnny Otis when he was 17, playing R&B clubs. This led to a recording contract with King Records and a string of R&B hits beginning with the soulful "All around the World" (1955) and including "I'm Shakin'" by Rudy Toombs,cite web
url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0867514/bio
title=Biography for Rudy Toombs
publisher=IMBD
accessdate=2006-11-01
] "Suffering with the Blues", "Need Your Love So Bad", "Sleep" (1960) (Pop #13). His biggest hit "Fever" (1956) (Pop #24) was even more famously covered by Peggy Lee in 1958. Another song, "Talk to Me" recorded in 1958, reached #5 in the R&B chart and #20 in the pop chart. A few years later it was a hit once again by Sunny and the Sunglows. In all, John made the Billboard Top 100 a total of 14 times. A cover version of "I Need Your Love So Bad" by the original Fleetwood Mac group was also a big hit in Europe.

John was known for his erratic behavior due to alcoholism, and he had a habit of carrying a gun. He was insecure regarding his 5 ft 2 in (1.63 m) height. Little Willie John died in 1968 at Washington State Prison in Walla Walla, Washington. He had been imprisoned for stabbing a man to death in October 1964. The official cause of death is listed as a heart attack, though some report he died of pneumonia or asphyxiation.Fact|date=May 2008

Little Willie John was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

He was the brother of singer Mable John, who recorded for Motown (early years of the Tamla label) and Stax, and the father of Keith John, long time background singer with Stevie Wonder

James Brown recorded a tribute album "Thinking of Little Willie John... And a Few Other Nice Things".

Notes


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