What Am I Living For?

Album: His Greatest Recordings (1958)
Charted: 9

Songfacts®:

  • Along with its B-side, "Hang up My Rock and Roll Shoes" (which peaked at #29), this was Chuck Willis' last Top 40 hit.
  • Willis, "The King of the Stroll," usually wore a turban onstage.
  • The single was released two weeks after Willis died on the operating table. The cause of death was a long-neglected bleeding ulcer. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 3

Comments: 6

  • Coy from Palestine, TexasJerry Wexler, of Atlantic Records, released Willis last album posthumously with his actual tombstone on the cover. Sammy Price, the great Boogie Woogie pianist plays on Willis recording of 'What Am I Living For'. For years, it was considered bad luck to record this record. Many people feared the jinx of 'What Am I Living For' had struck again when Conway Twitty, who recorded it, died of a ruptured artery in his stomach. Chuck Willis had died on the operating table from stomach ulcers.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 31st 1958, Chuck Willis performed "What Am I Living For?" on the ABC-TV afternoon weekday program 'American Bandstand'...
    A little over two months later on June 8th, 1958 "What Am I Living For?" would peak at #1 {for 1 week} on the Billboard's Most Played by R&B Jockeys chart...
    Sadly just ten days after his appearance on 'Bandstand' Mr. Willis would pass away {April 10th, 1958}, some web sites claim he was 30 years old at the time of his death, while others say 32 years old...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Mary L Torres from El Paso, TxI was very pleased with this web site because I am organizing my music and I needed information on this song by Chuck Willis , I will be using this web site in the future. That was music to listen to. There will never be any music like the 50's, 60's and 70's. Thank you for your help. P.S., LOVED THIS SONG.
  • Jon from Destin, FlWhat a great song. I like Conway's version but Chuck's blows it away. Heard it over and over in MS back in '58 when I was a little kid. Was reading that Chuck Willis was often introduced as the "Sheik of the Shake". C.C. Rider established Willis as the King of the Stroll".

    He died during surgery from peritonitis, a complication of surgery for stomach ulcers on Apr 10, 1958. He was just 30. Posthumously "What am I Living For" became his biggest crossover hit.

    I really wish Elvis had covered that song. Elvis did record his "Feel So Bad" and "C.C. Rider" as "See See Rider". Chuck was born and died in Atlanta.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyBesides Conway; Percy Sledge & Ray Charles also charted with this song. Conway peaked at No. 26, Percy reached to No. 91, and Ray topped out at No. 54!!!
  • Doug from Tempe, AzConway Twitty covered this song early in his career.
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