The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Going To The Dogs

Artist: Little Willie John
Song: Leave My Kitten Alone (a-side) (b-side is Let Nobody Love You)
Label: King 5219 (White Label Complimentary Dee Jay Special)
Number: 45-K14045
Songwriters: John-Turner-McDougal
Time: 2:32
Released: 1959

I figured since Blogger is working as of this very moment, I'd better post some things while I had the chance. I'll start out with a little double post I've been meaning to do featuring songs about cats and dogs. The first one is called Leave My Kitten Alone, and the second one to follow will be Leave My Dog Alone. The titles were so similar in theme, the double post just suggested itself to me!
Little Willie John was born William Edward John, in Cullendale, Arkansas, on November 15th, 1937. His family moved to Detroit when he was four. Finding out that he had musical ability at a young age, he was signed to local King Records where he had a string of R&B hits, starting with the soulful All Around The World, in 1955. Other hits to follow were Suffering With The Blues, Need Your Love So Bad, Sleep and Talk To Me, as well as today's song. But his biggest hit was called Fever, a song which was covered by another fellow artist here on Music For Every Mood, Peggy Lee, who had a huge hit with it and who's version is probably more well known than any other artist's.
As was typical with recording stars of that day, he turned to alcohol and it affected his career. In 1966, he was convicted of manslaughter and sent to Washington State Prison for a fatal knifing incident following a show in Seattle. He appealed his conviction and was temporarily released from prison. While waiting for the appeal to be acted upon, he recorded what was to be his comeback album, but by losing his appeal and being sent back to prison and contractual obligations, the album wasn't released until 2008. By this time, however, Little Willie John was dead. In 1968, he had a heart attack while in prison and passed away. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have even known about Little Willie John were it not for one little fact. His career started before I was born, had peaked and was winding down about the time I entered the world. But, a few years later, in 1964, a little band from Liverpool, England, known as The Beatles, recorded one of his songs which had been very influential to them. That song was called Leave My Kitten Alone. Although it wasn't officially released until 1995, it had been floating around on bootleg albums for nearly 20 years. That's how I became cognizant of it and the fact that it was a cover tune. But, the original version, written and performed by Little Willie John has a certain flair to it. It features him, backed with a chorus of voices and is pretty upbeat. It might lean more heavily towards R&B than Pop, like the music normally featured here, but the following song is by the daughter of Frank Sinatra, so how much more Pop can you get? It's a themed post, so as such, I hope you enjoy this song for it's own attractions. It's a catchy little number that features "Miaow" backups, so please download and listen to the original version of Leave My Kitten Alone, by Little Willie John. Let's just say you better get it or you'll get pounded on the top of your head! Oh, wait a minute.... that's what will happen if you don't leave his kitten alone. Enjoy!

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