Shake, Rattle and Roll – Big Joe Turner

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………..on February 1st of 1954 backed by his Jazz ensemble, Big Joe Turner records the original version of “Shake, Rattle and Roll”. The tune will top the Billboard R&B chart next June, but did not cross over to the Pop chart. Some of the original lyrics, that would have been considered highly sexual at the time, were changed when Bill Haley recorded the song five months later. An Atlantic Records songwriter/producer named Jesse Stone (under the name of Charles Calhoun) wrote this specially for Turner’s New York recording session. Big Joe preferred recording on the road – this was his first Big Apple session in 18 months. “Shake, rattle and roll” was a favorite saying in Stone’s weekly poker game, and while the song is ostensibly about dancing and having a good time, there are a lot of sexual overtones, especially they lyrics, “One-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store,” which was supplied by Stone’s drummer, Baby Lovett. Bill Haley and his Comets recorded this song in 1954 as the follow-up to their single “Thirteen Women“/”Rock Around The Clock.” This version was a hit, going to #7 on the Billboard charts. Haley reworked the most overtly sexual lyrics in the song for the sake of airplay, replacing “You wear those dresses, the sun comes shining through. I can’t believe my eyes all that mess belongs to you” with “You wearin’ those dresses, your hair done up so nice. You look so warm but your heart is as cold as ice.” The “one-eyed cat peekin’ in a seafood store” stayed in, since that one went over the heads of most white listeners.In a Rhino Records collection, Turner said: “Everybody was singing slow blues when I was young, and I thought I’d put a beat to it and sing it up-tempo.”