Music

Little Willie John

Born 15 November 1937. Died 26 May 1968.

Biography

William Edward John (November 15, 1937 - May 26, 1968), better known by his stage name Little Willie John (sometimes abbreviated LWJ), was an American R&B singer who performed in the 1950s and early 1960s. He is best known for his popular music chart successes with songs such as, "All Around the World" (1955), "Need Your Love So Bad" (1956) and "Fever" the same year, the latter covered in 1958 by Peggy Lee. An important figure in early R&B music, Little Willie John was a 1996 Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He was born in Cullendale, Arkansas, one of ten children; many sources erroneously give his middle name as Edgar. His family moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was four, so that his father could pursue factory work. In the late 1940s, the eldest children, including Willie, formed a gospel singing group, and Willie also performed in talent shows, which brought him to the notice of Johnny Otis and, later, musician and producer Henry Glover. After seeing him sing with the Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams orchestra, Glover signed him to a recording contract with King Records in 1955. He was nicknamed "Little Willie" John for his short stature.

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