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Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Jerry Lee Lewis

Album: The SessionReleased: 1973Charted:
  • This was written and originally recorded by a the R&B guitarist Sticks McGhee, who adapted it from a chant he learned at Army boot camp. He first recorded it in 1947, but the song became a hit when McGhee signed with Atlantic Records and recorded it again in 1949. It became the first hit for Atlantic, which later was home to Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, The Spinners and many others. A young Tom Dowd engineered the session and went on to produce The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, The Drifters and many others.
  • Fairly tame by today's standards, this was a particularly raucous song when Sticks McGhee recorded it in 1949. It's about getting drunk and not caring who knows it. The song was an early influence on Lewis and many other rock music pioneers.
  • Lewis performed this at his very first live appearance in 1949. The song was a good indicator of things to come for Lewis, as he sang about drinking despite a stern religious background that prohibited such behavior. Lewis became famous for his rowdy stage antics and sexually charged persona, as well as 6 marriages (including one to his 13-year-old second cousin) and a history of alcohol abuse.
  • An R&B version of this song became a chart success 15 years after Lewis' initial success.
  • The album includes many British rockers, like Alvin Lee of Ten Years After and Peter Frampton.
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Comments: 11

Good rockin' song. I have two versions of this song by Jerry Lee Lewis. One is a fair rocker while the other is a far rowdier rocker with a wild guitar break then later on his piano break which leave you all hot and nasty! A party song, without a doubt! And such a talent as Jerry Lee Lewis' vocals and red-hot piano. Yes indeed, party time!Rotunda - Tulsa, Ok
From "A Morning for Flamingos" by James Lee Burke.... "the customers ate boudin and pickled hog's feet off paper plates, drank long -necked Jax and wine spotioti, a mixture of muscat and whiskey that can fry your head for a week...." The Cajun/Creole "spotioti" became "Spo-De-O-De".Cynthia - Lake County, Il
I heard that the word Spo de o de actually means the words mother f.....r. Has anyone else ever heard that or is someone pulling my ....Denis - St.paul, Mn
This was the second of his 'drinking theme' songs;
in 1968 he released "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out of Me)", it peaked at No. 94!!!
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
My favorite part/line is the end "think about it"...Darrell - Muskegon, Mi
I believe the confusion some appear to have with the actual spelling, can be attributed to Jerry Lees' personality.
In his youth; Lee was a very cocky, self absorbed showman. He relished in being seen as the "Bad Boy" standard bearer of the newly emerging Rock'n Roll genre.
With out him, the popularity of Rock'n Roll would have been resigned to represent a bunch of wiggling hips.
His contribution helped turn it into the revolutionary anthem, for all who dared to be different.
That said, his rendition used a play on the lyrics from "Dee" to his own name of "Lee".
So the title under copyright was "Spo-Dee O'Dee"
but the lyrics were slurred to sound as "Spo-Lee O'Lee". A deliberate self absorbed act of showmanship, of which Jerry Lee was truly the "King"
Oscar - Zebulon, Nc
The Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, at one time had big parties they called "Spo-Li-O-Li" parties. This was in the early 1960s. I can't say if they still exist. I suppose they got the name from this song.Robert - Philadelphia, Ms
Jerry first recorded this song while at Sun Records.
In the mid 1960's, Smash/Mercury released an album by Jerry in stereo, Memphis Beat I believe, that had a version of this song on it.
Doug - Tempe, Az
"Drinking Wine Spo-Dee O-Dee" was written during WWII by Stick McGhee, the brother of blues great Brownie McGhee. Stick first recorded it in 1946 on Harlem, then again in 1949 for Atlantic - at which point Decca re-released his original version. The Atlantic release (as by Stick McGhee and his Buddies) became a hit with rock and rollers, and was the version I heard growing up in Pittsburgh and the one on my 78 jukebox at home.
Ed S., Nashville, TN.
Ed - Nashville, Tn
In the Pacific Northwest, high school students used to call a partially hollowed-out watermelon filled with vodka a "spo-de-o-de"R - Seattle, Wa
The title is actually..."Drinkin' Wine Spo-De-O-De"Ted - Loveland, Co
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