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Best of the Best

Little Willie John

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Album Review

Little Willie John was an awesome talent, possessing a voice that conveyed pain and hurt at an emotional pitch seldom encountered in pop music. A huge influence on many singers, including Sam Cooke and James Brown, John's impassioned, gospel-tinged vocals paved the way for the concept of soul. The only problem with this collection is its sheer brevity. Too short and missing too many key tracks to be a true "best-of," it does contain his best-known track, "Fever," which he co-wrote, and his first and last hits, "All Around the World" and "Sleep." A diminutive man with a volatile temper and a drinking problem, John stabbed a man and was sent to prison in 1966, where he died two years later at the age of 31, robbing the world of its first true soul singer.

Biography

Born: 15 November 1937 in Cullendale, AR

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

He never received the accolades given to the likes of Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, and James Brown, but Little Willie John ranks as one of R&B's most influential performers. His muscular high timbre and enormous technical and emotional range belied his young age (his first hit came when he was 18), but his mid-'50s work for Syd Nathan's King label would play a great part in the way soul music would sound. Everyone from Cooke,...
Full bio
Best of the Best, Little Willie John
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  • £5.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Blues, Soul
  • Released: 12 July 2002

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