Monday, October 8, 2018
Little Willie John - Let Them Talk - Beautiful R&B Ballad
It's a hard luck story, the story of Little Willie John.
He was only about 5' 4", and it bothered him. He started recording songs in this powerful tenor when he was that height, and seventeen years old. The boy could sing.
"Fever" was his song (1956); Peggy Lee got the hit with her cover (1958).
Bad tempered and drunk, he got dumped by King Records in '63 and convicted of manslaughter, let's say shortly thereafter. (There are conflicting dates offered.) He stabbed a guy after a show. He died in prison in '68, with the cause also variously reported as a heart attack, pneumonia, or getting killed in prison. Thirty years old, my oh my, the boy lacked that stamp of permanence that we, the lucky ones, share. Thirty, that's almost a failure to thrive.
Everything that he ever recorded is great, though. He should be more famous.