The song was written by Clement with the intention that it be the follow-up A-side to Jerry Lee Lewis' first local hit, "Crazy Arms". According to Clement, "We were working on a song I'd written called "It'll Be Me", and I was in the control room and getting tired of it, so I went out there and said, 'Why don't we get off of this? We'll come back to it later, Jerry. Let's cut something else...'." Band member J. W. Brown suggested that Lewis play another song that had been going down well in live performances, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On". When the single was released, "It'll Be Me" was used as the B-side.
Another (slower and shorter) version of the song, from a later recording session, was released in May 1958 on his first album Jerry Lee Lewis.
Cliff Richard and the Shadows released their version as the A-side of a single in August 1962. It reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and was a top ten hit in numerous other countries. In 1983 Richard rerecorded the song for his 25th Anniversary album Rock 'n' Roll Silver (exclusive to the limited edition box-set Silver).
^The official Irish charts listed "It'll Be Me" for one week only, at number 10, in its inaugural publication, 10 October 1962. Because this is after it had peaked in the existing charts, the chart peak at number 2 in the Evening Herald (1 week, September 21) and Billboard (2 weeks), has been used instead. Note, the Billboard publication lags 3 or 4 weeks behind the Irish official chart (probably reasonable in 1962).Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (20 October 1962). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.;sourced from Teenager Express, Dublin. p. 14. ISSN0006-2510.