500 Greatest Songs of All Time

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

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Big Joe Turner, 'Shake, Rattle & Roll'

127. Big Joe Turner, 'Shake, Rattle & Roll'

Writer: Charles Calhoun
Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler
April '54, Atlantic
Predates chart

Atlantic Records' contribution to the birth of rock & roll (Wexler and Ertegun even sang backup), "Shake, Rattle & Roll" was written specifically for big-voiced blues singer Turner, one of the label's early stars. "Everybody was singing slow blues when I was young, and I thought I'd put a beat to it and sing it uptempo," Turner said. This track, with its big bounce and raunchy lyrics ("I'm like a one-eyed cat peepin' in a seafood store"), topped the R&B charts; typical of the times, a sanitized cover by Bill Haley and the Comets got white America bopping. 

Appears on: The Very Best of Big Joe Turner (Rhino)


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