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Shake, Rattle And Roll


Big Joe Turner

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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.
Artists to record this song include Elvis Presley, Huey Lewis & the News, Patsy Cline, Arthur Conley, and The Beatles.
This plays during the closing credits of the 1985 mystery/comedy Clue, a movie based on the board game by Parker Brothers. It is set in the mid-1950s. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
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." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Big Joe Turner
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Comments (7):

I'm interested to know under what circumstances the Beatles recorded this. I'd never heard of them singing it. Anyone have any info?
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
The line "I'm like a one-eyed cat, peepin' in a sea-food store" has a certain sexual connotation...
- Steve, New York, NY
- Steve, New York, NY
This song was released 1954, not 1951.
- Joerg, Frankfurt, Germany
I think some book named this as the very first rock 'n' roll song.
- fyodor, Denver, CO
Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
- Andy, Arlington, VA
Bill Haley & His Comets had their first big hit in 1953 when they recorded "Crazy Man, Crazy" (written by Haley and his bass-player Marshall Lytle but credited to Haley only when released).
Their first Decca release, "Rock Around The Clock" (Initially a b-side) was at first not the big hit but their second Decca release, "Shake, Rattle & Roll" went to number seven on the Billboard chart. The continued success for Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954-55 really paved the way for Elvis Presley. Would RCA have been interested in paying a big deal of money for an unknown "hillbilly cat" if they hadn´t been for an answer of Decca´s Bill Haley? "Shake, Rattle & Roll" - I think Rock´n Roll begins here...
- Ake, OSTERSUND, Sweden
There are many versions of this song but Joe Turner's 1954 versin is the greatest.And he was the greatest!
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