I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………on November 28th of 1970 Dave Edmonds tops the UK Singles Chart for a six week stay with “I Hear You Knocking”. Written by the New Orleans trumpet player Dave Bartholomew and guitarist Earl King (listed as “Pearl King” – his songwriting pen name), this song was published in 1955 and quickly became a rhythm & blues standard. The first to record it was Smiley Lewis, a New Orleans singer who ran in the same circles with Bartholomew and King. With a slow, swinging blues sound, the song is emblematic of the New Orleans sound of the era popularized by Fats Domino, whose version made #67 US in 1961. A singer/actress named Gale Storm recorded a very popular version of this song that went to #2 US in 1955. Storm, who starred in a TV show called My Little Margie at the time, did a sultry version with the gender switched. Dave Edmunds brought this song back to the charts with a rocking guitar version released in 1970. In his version, he namechecks some of his musical contemporaries, including Smiley Lewis, who originally recorded the song, and Fats Domino, who also covered it. It was Edmunds’ first single; the song did very well in America where it peaked at #4, but far better in his native UK (he’s Welsh), where it was one of the biggest selling singles of all time to that point. He had several other UK hits, following up with another retro cover: “Baby, I Love You,” which made #8 in 1973. He had a number of other hits in his native Britain, among them “Queen of Hearts” and “I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock & Roll).” These were also minor hits in the US (where Juice Newton’s 1981 cover of “Queen of Hearts” would also reach #2), but Edmunds’ only other American Top 40 hit was 1983’s “Slipping Away,” which just barely made the list at #39.This song wasn’t Edmunds’ first choice: he planned to record a version of “Let’s Work Together” by Wilbert Harrison, but Canned Heat covered that song before he could. Searching for a different song by an under-appreciated American artist, he heard “I Hear You Knocking” on his car radio when he was driving in Britain; the song was getting airplay because a Smiley Lewis compilation album had recently been released in the UK.