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  • Fever: The Best of Little Willie John
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Fever: The Best of Little Willie John


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Audio CD, November 16, 1993
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000003357
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,312 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. All Around The World
2. Need Your Love So Bad
3. Home At Last
4. Fever
5. My Nerves
6. Suffering With The Blues
7. Person To Person
8. Talk To Me, Talk To Me
9. Spasms
10. Let's Rock While The Rockin's Good
11. Leave My Kitten Alone
12. Let Them Talk
13. I'm Shakin'
14. Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)
15. Sleep
16. You Hurt Me
17. I Like To See My Baby
18. Take My Love (I Want To Give It All To You)
19. Big Blue Diamonds
20. My Baby's In Love With Another Guy

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Standing slightly more than five feet tall, Little Willie John scored his first hit at age 17. That 1955 R&B smash--"All Around the World" (also known as "Grits Ain't Groceries")--reflected his status as a seasoned veteran of several leading jazz/R&B big bands. John went on to record such noble rockers as "I'm Shakin'" (covered by the Blasters) and "Leave My Kitten Alone" (covered by the Beatles). However, his greatest success came when he set his torchy, gospel-drenched tenor to slow blues ("Need Your Love So Bad"), standards ("Sleep"), heartbreak ballads ("Talk to Me" and "Let Them All Talk"), and his flame-broiled original version of the oft-covered (Peggy Lee, Madonna, the Cramps, among others) incendiary title track. John was only 30 when he died--reportedly of either pneumonia or a heart attack--while imprisoned for manslaughter in 1968. That same year, James Brown recorded an album called Thinking of Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things. One listen to this 20-song Little Willie John compilation will tell you why. --Don Waller

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Those two songs are "Fever" and "I Need Your Love So Bad."
Robert Moore
I'm not sure if that was the case with "Fever" when it came to royalties, but even now I don't think that many people know that it was a Little Willie John song.
Bop Cat
I suggest this CD unequivocally to any fan of r&b and soul music.
"ksbooksandmusic"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By F. Barton on September 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Little Willie John was a tremendous talent. Much more so than can be measured in a single release on 45, or even many albums. So it was a treat to get this Rhino CD, because they always have the BEST sound, and remaster from original sources.
The one thing, soundwise, that cannot be removed, is distortion. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for his studio recordings, Willie possessed such a HUGE voice, that it often overloaded his solo microphone, and while that is disguised wonderfully on this release, it cannot be eliminated.
On "Fever", "All Around the World" and "Sleep" is it overcome almost entirely, and these are the best sounding versions you will find of these. However, "Spasms" and "Talk to Me" are not as wonderous in the audio category.
If you have to purchase ONE disc of this legendary writer/singer......grab this one. However you will also need "Little Mister Willie John", "Sure Things" and "Home at Last" to get all of his great songs!! The CD "28 Big Ones" is a great buy considering all the music, but has the worst sound quality of any. It's rather strange how a singer who influenced every R&B singer of his day, and well beyond, not to mention Peggy Lee and Sinatra, does not have a boxed set of all his recordings...............together, and possibly with a few radio appearances and live tracks. At LEAST his CDs are still in print, and I'd grab them ALL while they are. King records is still handling the releases, which might be why it would be wiser to turn the master session tapes over to, say, Bear Family, to make a thorough, complete release of this immortal artist, lost too soon.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Audio CD
i've always felt that little willie john was the most underrated singer of his era. called "little" because of his age and stature, he had one of the most powerful and emotional voices of his and any day.two excellent examples are "talk to me" and "i need your love so bad". one "discovery" i made on this cd was "blue diamonds". i love it but find it to be rather haunting, especially after reading the cd's liner notes and the details of his death. i love this cd, but find it hard to listen to a whole lot because i always feel melancholy after listening to it. i was glad to see his talent finally recognized when he was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1996
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "ksbooksandmusic" on April 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is truly astonishing collection of songs from a singer who sang soul music before "soul" existed as a label for r&b music in the 60's. An amazingly influential singer who was cited as an inspiration by Marvin Gaye and James Brown who recorded a tribute album after his death in the late 60's. You may have heard "Fever" from the Peggy Lee cover, but that version, of course, can't hold a candle in comparison to Little Willie John's original. Another stand out track is "Need Your Love so Bad" with its gut-wrenchingly aching vocals. A notoriously difficult and mercurial personality who died in prison, Little Willie John deserves wider recognition for his genius. I suggest this CD unequivocally to any fan of r&b and soul music. An absolute must
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AvidOldiesCollector TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When you look at the contents of the CD you have to wonder if the title means "Fever" is the best of Little Willie John and, with that, they're giving you only SOME of his other hits OR, if purporting to offer all his best, the producer fell asleep at the switch. The same holds true for another CD listed: Little Willie John: All 15 Chart Hits 1953-1962.

First of all John (born in Cullendale, Arkansas on November 15, 1937 and raised in Detroit) was just 16 in 1953, and although touring with Paul Williams & His Orchestra and cutting some discs for Savoy, Rama, and Prize, he had no hits of any description until 1955. Secondly, from 1955 to 1961 he actually had eighteen charters.

After signing with King in 1955, that fall he scored with the # 5 R&B hit, All Around The World. Not bad for an 18-year-old, and when he did it again early in 1956 with the double-side hit Need Your Love So Bad (# 5 R&B) b/w Home At Last (# 6 R&B), King knew they had something special (the B-side is missing from the other CD mentioned).

His biggest hit ever, Fever, followed in a few months, going to # 1 R&B (where it stayed for five weeks) and # 24 Billboard Top 100 in August. The thing is, the flipside, Letter From My Darling, also went to # 10 R&B and is not included in either this compilation OR the other one. Nor is the next one in 1956, Do Something For Me, which hit # 15 R&B, and yet the flipside, My Nerves, which did not chart, is included in this set.

There were no charters in 1957, but in May 1958 he was back with Talk To Me, Talk To Me which, b/w Spasms, topped out at # 5 R&B and # 20 Top 100. Later that summer You're A Sweetheart reached # 14 R&B and # 66 Top 100 in August, and while it's on the other CD, it is omitted from this one.
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Format: Audio CD
If you are under the age of 50 you most likely have never heard of him. Although he managed to hit the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart a total of 14 times between 1956 and 1961, none of his records ever peaked any higher than #13! So just what was so special about Little Willie John and why did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame see fit to make this man one of their earliest inductees? The answer to this question will become abundantly clear to you when you sample Rhino's phenomenal 1993 release "Fever: The Best of Little Willie John". Incredibly, the legendary James Brown used to be the opening act for him in the mid 1950's. Like his contemporaries Clyde McPhatter and Sam Cooke, Little Willie John was a former gospel singer who played a vital role in the emergence of the genre that would one day be dubbed "soul" music. I have owned "Fever: The Best of Little Willie John for more than a decade now and it is a disc I have come to treasure.
There are 20 tracks on "Fever: The Best of Little Willie John" and I can attest that there is not a weak cut among them. You will quickly discover that Little Willie John was no one trick pony. No sir. He could rock and roll with the best of them, belt out a blues number and soothe you with a soft ballad. Chances are, if you have ever heard a Little Willie John tune it would be his 1956 recording of "Fever". That song would have been a monster hit but Peggy Lee covered it and her version became the bigger hit. Life can be very unfair! You will also enjoy Willie's pleasing take on the 1920's hit "Sleep" as well as "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" from 1958. Rock and roll with great sounds like "Let's Rock While The Rockin's Good" and "I'm Shakin'" to name but a couple. Perhaps my very favorite Little Willie John tune is "Let Them Talk.
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