Sun Sounds- “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”- Jerry Lee Lewis. “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was Jerry Lee Lewis’s first hit- #3 on the pop chart and #1 on both the country and R&B singles charts. If I had to vote for the greatest song recorded at Sun Studio- and released on Sun Records- this would be it.
By the time “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was released in April 1957- early Sun stars Elvis and Johnny Cash had moved on to bigger record companies and “The Killer” was the next big discovery. Sam Phillips was in Florida when Jerry Lee came for an audition- and Sun ace producer and engineer Jack Clement recorded Lewis’s first single “Crazy Arms.” At first Jerry Lee was a studio session man for recordings by Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.
The original recording of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was by Big Maybelle in 1955. In the hands of Jerry Lee Lewis- it became an entirely different song.
The song was engineered by Cowboy Jack Clement who told Lewis when he entered the studio, “We don’t do much country around here. We’re in the rock & roll business. You ought to go home and work up some rock & roll numbers” Lewis later stated: “I knew it was a hit when I cut it. Sam Phillips thought it was gonna be too risqué, it couldn’t make it. If that’s risqué, well, I’m sorry.
Rolling Stone listed “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” as the 61st greatest song of all-time.
“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” launched The Killer into a star which wouldn’t fade until the marriage controversy in May 1958. Jerry Lee Lewis is now 85 and of the 1950’s rock n rollers- he is the last man standing. He may be too mean to die.