12 May 2009

What a lovely way to burn

Fever is a smoldering bluesy song written by Otis Blackwell and Eddie Cooley and first performed in 1956 by William Edgar John (Little Willie John). In 1958, Peggy Lee turned Fever into a velvety and sleek pop song, to wide acclaim of white Americans. Follow-up covers of the song have been based on Peggy Lee's arrangement (even by the likes of Elvis Presley and Ray Charles).
The cover by James Brown, however, went back to black. Brown included it in his Little Willie John tribute album in 1968, for it was then that Little Willie John, merely 30 years old, died in a state penitentiary. Little Willie John's other songs are also well worth a longer attention span than they received so far.

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