This was written by the husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote most of The Everly Brothers songs in the '50s. Their songs were also recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis, and Buddy Holly.
This is about a young couple who fall asleep at the drive-in, realize they are out past curfew, and make up a story to tell Susie's parents.
Some Boston radio stations banned this because of the lyrics, which imply that the young couple spent the night together. At the time, staying out late with a girl was a little controversial.
For The Everly Brothers, this was the first of four US #1 hits. It also went to #1 on the Country & Western charts.
At an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show while campaigning for President in year 2000, George W. Bush was asked by Oprah what his favorite song was. He said: "Wake Up Little Susie - by Buddy Holly."
Simon & Garfunkel played this at their 1981 concert in Central Park. The live recording was released as a single the next year and hit #27 in the US.
Chet Atkins played guitar on this. Atkins, who died of cancer in 2001, was a Nashville musician who created a distinctive sound using a three-fingered picking technique.
This was a labor of love for the songwriting duo. "We persevered with 'Wake Up Little Susie' for many hours," Boudleaux recalled to Country Music People. "I started writing one night, kept trying to get my ideas down, but it just wouldn't happen. Finally I woke Felice, who took one listen to what I had so far achieved and came up with the final touches that I couldn't get. The Everlys liked the song, but like me had problems with getting it right in the studio. They worked a whole three-hour session on that one song and had to give up, they just couldn't get it right. We all trooped back to the studio the next day and got it down first take. That's the way it happens sometimes."