“Fever” & Strings: Little Willie John Gets the Last Word

1995’s King R&B Box Set yielded a couple other rarities in addition to Hank Ballard’s unreleased piece of mod soul – such as this rare strings version of Little Willie John’s biggest (and hugely influential) hit, “Fever”:

Somewhere in my archive of Mojo back issues there’s a small piece with Dr. John recounting his days under the tutelage of Cosimo Matassa at J&M Studios in New Orleans and mentioning that “Fever” – recorded March 1, 1956 at the King studios in Cincinnati – had a particularly great drum sound that was envied at the time.

Fever - Little Willie John LP

“Fever” – written by Eddie Cooley & Otis Blackwell and recorded first by Little Willie John – has been covered by a diverse array of artists from Peggy Lee, Elvis, and Ray Charles to The Jam, The Cramps, and Tom Verlaine.