Personalities | Little Willie John | Fifties | Rock

(Vocals, 1937–68)

Arkansas-born William Edgar John, who moved to Detroit as a child, was signed to King Records from 1955. A string of US R&B Top 20 hits followed, several of which crossed over to the US pop chart. He is said to have influenced many major soul singers of the 1960s, and his best-known hits included ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ (1956, covered by Fleetwood Mac), and ‘Fever’ (1956, US R&B No. 1/US pop Top 30, later covered with great success by Peggy Lee). John, whose sister was Mable John (once of The Raelettes, Ray Charles’ vocal backing group), was convicted of manslaughter in 1966, and died of a heart attack in Washington State Prison.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Rock
Personalities | Johnny & The Hurricanes | Fifties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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