Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Electric…that is the best way I can describe Jerry Lee Lewis. From those old black and white clips in the fifties, the Killer was doing just that. Using all of his limbs to pulverize the piano. The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the Uk, and #1 in the Billboard Country Chart in 1957. It is one of THE recognizable songs of the 1950s.

From Songfacts.

This was Jerry Lee Lewis’ second single, following up his cover of the Ray Price country song “Crazy Arms,” which went nowhere. Lewis was signed to the famous Sun Records, who also had Elvis Presley. This song was the first of Lewis’ four Top 40 hits, which all occurred in a period of about a year and a half. In 1958, his hits dried up when word of his marriage to 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown got out. Despite just the four hits and an unsavory reputation, Lewis was so revered as a rock pioneer that he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the first class.

Radio stations found all kinds of reasons not to play this song: it was too suggestive, he cursed on it, (“We-e-ll-a” sounded like “We-hella”), he sounded black (most stations didn’t play songs by black artists). Still, the song sold well in the southern United States, but it wasn’t until Lewis’ TV debut on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957 that it became a national hit and sold over 6 million copies. The song also generated a lot of controversy, as the lyrics are rather lascivious and quite shocking coming from a singer from the Bible Belt. >>

This appeared in the Top 5 of the Pop, Country, and R&B charts simultaneously with Lewis’ other big hit, “Great Balls of Fire.” Both songs hit #1 on the Country chart.

This song was written by Roy Hall (using the pseudonym Sunny David) and Dave “Curly” Williams. Hall was a songwriter/piano player who ran a music venue in Nashville and played in Webb Pierce’s band. Hall and Williams (a black musician) wrote this song in 1954 while fishing on Lake Okeechobee in Florida. They were drunk when they heard a bell clanging on an island in the middle of the lake. After Hall blurted out, “What’s going on?” he heard someone say “We got 21 drums, we got an ol’ bass horn and they’re even keepin’ time on a ding-dong” – which became the original first line of the song.

Webb Pierce helped Hall get a record deal with Decca, and in 1955 Hall recorded this song for the label. Back in 1954, Hall hired Jerry Lee Lewis to play some gigs at his club, and when it came time for Lewis to record his second single, he pulled out Hall’s song and turned it into a rock classic. Hall said that he had to sign over the royalties from the song to his ex-wife, and he spent his remaining years playing around Nashville. He died in 1984 at age 61.

After Roy Hall recorded this song and before Lewis did it, versions were recorded by Big Maybelle, The Commodores (no relation to the ’70s Motown group), and Delores Frederick. All four were done in completely different styles. Jerry Lee Lewis made it a lascivious rocker – his take was wildly divergent from the original.

Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

Come along my baby, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Yes, I said come along my baby, baby you can’t go wrong
We ain’t fakin’, while lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Well, I said come along my baby, we got chicken in the barn
Woo-huh, come along my baby, really got the bull by the horn
We ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Well, I said shake, baby, shake
I said shake, baby, shake
I said shake it, baby, shake it
And then shake, baby, shake
Come on over, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Oh, let’s go!


Well, I said come along my baby, we got chicken in the barn
Whose barn? What barn? My barn
Come along my baby, really got the bull by the horn
We ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Easy now
Shake it
Ah, shake it, baby
You can shake it one time for me
Ye-ah-ha-ah, I said come on over, baby
Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Now, let’s get down real low one time now
Shake, baby, shake
All you gotta do, honey, is kinda stand in one spot
Wiggle around just a little bit, that’s when you got it, yeah
Come on baby, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Now let’s go one time

Shake it baby, shake, shake it baby, shake
Woo, shake baby, come on babe, shake it, baby, shake
Come on over, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

One thought on “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”

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