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Best of the Best

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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.

Customer Reviews

an original before your favorite original

what Iggy Pop is to punk, Little Willie John is to soul-pop. Just listen, and if you want to add some Sam Cooke and then some Ted Hawkins, you can have a night of genuine American music, individualistic no matter the material. I love the album entitled "Mister Little Willie John" best, and miss especially on iTunes LWJ's version of "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me One More Time". FWIW, I know Robbie Robertson is another artist influenced by LWJ as he mentions him lyrically.

Biography

Born: November 15, 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, McPhatter, and Brown to Jackie Wilson, B.B. King, and Al Green has acknowledged...
Full Bio
Best of the Best, Little Willie John
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Blues, Soul
  • Released: Jul 12, 2002

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Influenced by This Artist

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