Recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the "500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll," this can be considered one of the first Rock songs, with a big bass beat, driving electric guitar and sexually suggestive lyrics. The band was known as The Royales when they wrote it, but changed their name when the song was released to avoid confusion with a Doo Wop group called The 5 Royales.
The band had an R&B hit with a song called "Get It," with gave them the idea of using "Work With Me" in a song. "Annie" sings very well, and made for a great title. So good, that she showed up on later songs "Annie Had A Baby" and "Annies's Aunt Fanny."
It's not always easy to tell if a song is about dancing or sex, and that's the case with this song. It was a handy device that showed up over and over in Rock history. Hank Ballard went on to write perhaps the most famous dancing song ever recorded: "The Twist
In 1955, Etta James recorded "Roll With Me Henry," which was an answer song using the same melody. Her version was also released with the sanitized title "The Wallflower," and Georgia Gibbs reworked it as "Dance With Me Henry." Hank Ballard & the Midnighters then released an answer song to the answer song called "Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)."
The "Annie" lyrics were extremely sexually explicit for the period. Such lines as "Annie, please don't cheat, give me all my meat," caused some factions of the recording industry to call for R&B to be banned all together. Peter Potter, host of CBS's Juke Box Jury said, "All R&B records are dirty and as bad for kids as dope."
Because the record was in such demand and received so much publicity, attempts to restrict it failed and instead it crossed over to become a favorite with white teenagers and shot to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts staying at the peak position for 7 weeks.