Little Willie John has got to be one of the most underrated singers of all time. Even though he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, many people still don't know who he is. His debut recording, a smoking version of Titus Turner's "All around the World" from 1955, set the pattern for a remarkable string of hits: "Need Your Love So Bad," "Suffering with the Blues," "Fever," "Let Them Talk," and his last, "Sleep," from 1961. His version of "Fever" (1956) was copied note for note by Peggy Lee and Elvis Presley, both of whom had bigger hits with it; John's version, however, remains definitive. John had a volatile temper, fueled by a taste for liquor and an insecurity regarding his slight height (5 ft 4 in). He was known to pack a gun and knife; in 1964, he stabbed a man and was sent to the Washington State penitentiary, where he died of pneumonia in 1968 at the age of thirty.
Little Willie John - Fever
Little Willie John - Suffering With The Blues
Little Willie John - I'm Shakin'