The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)

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"The Wallflower" (also known as "Roll with Me, Henry" and "Dance with Me, Henry") is a 1955 popular song. It was one of several answer songs to "Work with Me, Annie" and has the same 12-bar blues melody.

It was written by Johnny Otis, Hank Ballard, and Etta James. Etta James recorded it for Modern Records, with uncredited vocal responses from Richard Berry, under the title "The Wallflower" and it became a rhythm and blues hit, topping the U.S. R&B chart for 4 weeks. It was popularly known as "Roll with Me Henry". This original version was considered too risque to play on pop radio stations.

In 1955, the song was covered for the pop market by Georgia Gibbs with the title "Dance With Me Henry". That version charted, hitting the top five of several pop charts, including number one on the Most Played In Juke Boxes chart on May 14, 1955, spending three weeks on top of that chart.[1] In 1958, Etta James made her own cover version of "Dance With Me Henry".

It was also covered as "Dance With Me Henry" by Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan as the characters Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister from the BBC radio comedy series The Goon Show in 1955.[2]

In 2008, Etta James received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 1955 recording.[3]

The song is a dialogue between "Henry" and the singer:

Hey baby, whatta I have to do to make you love me too?
You've got to roll with me Henry.

The context is the dance floor. The Midnighters also recorded an "answer to the answer": "Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)".

The song inspired the title of the Abbott and Costello film Dance With Me Henry (1956), although the film's plot was unrelated to the song.[4] It was also included in the films Sister Act and Back to the Future.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955-1999 (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, 2000), 255, 921.
  2. ^ Roger Wilmut (1976). The Goon Show Companion. Robson Books.
  3. ^ 2008 Grammy newsletter
  4. ^ Jim Mulholland (1977). The Abbott and Costello Book. Popular Library. pp. 216–219.