Got My Mojo Working
|"Got My Mo-Jo Working"|
|Single by Ann Cole and the Suburbans|
|B-side||"I've Got a Little Boy"|
|Format||7" 45 rpm record|
|"Got My Mojo Working"|
|Single by Muddy Waters|
|Recorded||December 1, 1956|
|Writer(s)||Disputed, see text|
"Got My Mojo Working" is a 1956 song written by Preston Foster and first recorded by Ann Cole, but popularized by Muddy Waters in 1957. Waters' rendition of the song was featured on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at #359 and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The song has been covered by many artists, including Louis Jordan (1956), Roy Head and the Traits (1962), Conway Twitty (1964), Alexis Korner (1964), Manfred Mann (1964), The Zombies (1964), Jimmy Smith (1965), Graham Bond (1965), Tages (1965), The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965),The Shadows of Knight (1966) Art Blakey (1966), Carla Thomas (1967), The Electric Prunes (1967), Peps Persson & Blues Quality (1968, later (1997) released in Swedish as Min trollmoj funkar), Canned Heat (1969), Elvis Presley (1970), Rory Gallagher (1971), J. J. Cale (1972), Melanie Safka (1975), B. B. King (1977), Buddy Guy (1977), JB Hutto (1979), The Stampeders (1979), Otis Rush (1986), Dr. Feelgood (Down at the doctors - 1994), Asylum Street Spankers (2004), Etta James (2004 - Blues to the Bone), Eric Clapton (2011), Johnny Winter (2011) and Widespread Panic (2013).
This song has been the topic of copyright litigation. McKinley Morganfield, a.k.a. Muddy Waters, heard Ann Cole perform this song while on tour in 1956. He modified the words, and attempted to copyright his own version. Dare Records, holder of the Preston copyright, and Arc Records, holder of the Morganfield copyright, settled out of court, with Arc deferring to Dare's copyright. This agreement did not affect the actual copyright status: the two versions are still separately copyrighted. Nonetheless, MCA/Chess has credited the song to Foster in more recent years (for example, in the liner notes to the Chess Blues box set in 1991). Other songs exist that are sufficiently similar to have provoked litigation. In Strachborneo v. Arc Music 357 F. Supp 1393 (S.D. N.Y. 1973), Ruth Stratchborneo sued Arc Music, rights holder to the Preston Foster work, for infringement against her song "Mojo Workout". The court held that "MOJO is a commonplace part of the rhetoric of the culture of a substantial portion of the American people. As a figure of speech, the concept of having, or not having, one's MOJO working is not something in which any one person could assert originality, or establish a proprietary right.".
|Lyric comparison in copyright case|
Foster lyrics excerpt
Got my Mojo working but it just won't work on you
Excerpt from Waters lyrics
Got my mojo working but it just won't work on you
Excerpt from Stratchborneo lyrics
I got my mojo working