The Seventh Son

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"The Seventh Son"
Single by Willie Mabon
B-side"Lucinda"
ReleasedOctober 1955 (1955-10)[1]
Format
RecordedChicago, June 1, 1955[1]
GenreRhythm and blues
Length3:01
LabelChess
Songwriter(s)Willie Dixon
Producer(s)
Willie Mabon singles chronology
"Come On, Baby"
(1955)
"The Seventh Son"
(1955)
"Knock on Wood"
(1956)

"The Seventh Son" (also listed as "Seventh Son") is a rhythm and blues song written by Willie Dixon. The title refers to the seventh son of a seventh son of folklore, which Dixon referenced previously in his "Hoochie Coochie Man". In 1955, Willie Mabon was the first to record it, which was released as a single by Chess Records.[2] Johnny Rivers recorded the song as the lead track for his album Meanwhile Back at the Whisky à Go Go (1965), which was also one of his most popular singles.

Recording and release[edit]

Willie Mabon recorded "The Seventh Son" on June 1, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. The exact personnel on the session is not known for sure but is most likely Willie Mabon (vocals, piano), Bill Martin (trumpet), Herbert Robinson (tenor saxophone), Willie Dixon (double bass), and Oliver Coleman (drums). The song was paired for release as a single with "Lucinda" as the B-side and was released in October.[1]

Johnny Rivers rendition[edit]

"The Seventh Son"
Single by Johnny Rivers
from the album Meanwhile Back at the Whisky a Go Go
B-side"Un-Square Dance"
Released1965 (1965)
Format45 rpm record
Recorded1965
VenueWhisky a Go Go, West Hollywood, California
Genre
Length2:45
LabelImperial
Songwriter(s)Willie Dixon
Producer(s)Lou Adler

Johnny Rivers' version of "The Seventh Son" was released on the 1965 album Meanwhile Back at the Whisky à Go Go and also as a single. Despite the title, most, if not all, of the tracks were recorded in the studio with audience noise added. The single version peaked at number seven on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 singles chart.[3] It also topped RPM magazine's Top Singles chart.[4]

Recordings by other artists[edit]

"The Seventh Son" has been recorded by a variety of artists, including Bill Haley & His Comets (released on their 1999 greatest-hit compilation), John Mellencamp (on the 2005 reissue of Rough Harvest), Billy "Crash" Craddock (on the album You Better Move On), Mose Allison, Sting, Georgie Fame, Climax Blues Band, Long John Baldry, George Thorogood and, as with many of his own songs, by Willie Dixon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c George R. White; Robert L. Campbell; Tom Kelly. "The Chess Label Part II (1953–1955)". Robert Campbell. Clemson, South Carolina: Clemson University. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Hanson, Karen (2007). Today's Chicago Blues. Lake Claremont Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1893121195.
  3. ^ "Johnny Rivers: Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "RPM Magazine Top Singles – Volume 3, No. 21, July 19 1965" (PHP). Library and Archives Canada. March 31, 2004.