500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On'

61. Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On'

Writers: Dave Williams, Roy Hall
Producer: Jack Clement
Released: June '57, Sun
29 weeks; No. 3

When Lewis decided to record what would be his breakthrough hit, it had already been cut four times and gone nowhere. Lewis filled it with frantic piano and filthy instructions ("All you got to do, honey, is kinda stand in one spot/Wiggle around just a little bit"). But what really made "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" work was producer Cowboy Jack Clement's decision to turn the session over to the manic energy of Lewis' live shows. "I just simply turned on the machine, mixed it on the fly," he said. After Lewis played a fiery version of "Shakin'" on Steve Allen's TV show, the song went on to sell more than 6 million copies.

Appears on: Original Sun Greatest Hits (Rhino) 


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