Shake, Rattle and Roll

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"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
Shake, Rattle and Roll single cover.jpg
Single by Big Joe Turner
B-side"You Know I Love You"
ReleasedApril 1954 (1954-04)
RecordedNew York City, February 15, 1954
Songwriter(s)Charles F. Calhoun a.k.a. Jesse Stone
Big Joe Turner singles chronology
"TV Mama"
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
"Well All Right"

"Shake, Rattle and Roll" is a song, written in 1954 by Jesse Stone (usually credited as Charles F. Calhoun, his songwriting name). The original recording by Big Joe Turner is ranked number 127 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


In early 1954, Ahmet Ertegun[3] of Atlantic Records suggested to Jesse Stone that he write an up-tempo blues for Big Joe Turner, a blues shouter whose career had begun in Kansas City before World War II. Stone played around with various phrases before coming up with "shake, rattle and roll".[4] (Stone used his real name for ASCAP songs, while using the pseudonym "Charles Calhoun" for BMI-registered songs, such as "Shake, Rattle and Roll").

However, the phrase had been used in earlier songs. In 1910, vaudeville performer "Baby" Franklin Seals published "You Got to Shake, Rattle and Roll", a ragtime tune about gambling with dice, in New Orleans;[5] in 1919, Al Bernard recorded a version of the song.[6][7]

Joe Turner original[edit]

Turner recorded "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in New York City on February 15, 1954. Jesse Stone, and record label executives Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun provided the shouting chorus; other players included guitarist Mickey Baker and drummer Connie Kay.[citation needed] Turner's recording was released in April 1954 and reached number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart and number 22 on the Billboard singles chart.[8]

Bill Haley version[edit]

"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
Shake Rattle and Roll Bill Haley Decca 1954.jpg
Single by Bill Haley
B-side"A.B.C. Boogie"
ReleasedAugust 1954 (1954-08)
RecordedNew York City, June 7, 1954
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Charles F. Calhoun
Bill Haley singles chronology
"Rock Around the Clock"
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
"Dim, Dim the Lights"

Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a cover version of the song on June 7, 1954,[9] the same week Turner's version first topped the R&B charts. The Comets provided the instrumental accompaniment: Johnny Grande on piano, Billy Williamson on rhythm guitar, Marshall Lytle on bass, and Joey Ambrose on saxophone. Haley's version was released in August and reached number seven on the Billboard singles chart, spending a total of twenty-seven weeks in the Top 40.[9] This version of the song was played during the credits in the 1985 cult film Clue.

Elvis Presley versions[edit]

Elvis Presley recorded the song twice in a studio setting: a demo recorded at radio station KDAV in Lubbock, Texas in January 1955[10] while under contract with Sun Records (this recording was not released until the 1990s) and as a 1956 single for RCA Victor.

Introduced by Cleveland disc jockey Bill Randle, Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, and drummer D. J. Fontana performed the song in medley with the similar "Flip, Flop and Fly" on the January 28, 1956, broadcast of the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show (Haley's "kitchen" opening verse was sung).[11] Presley recorded the song with these same musicians.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Joe Turner". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  2. ^ Campbell, Michael; Brody, James (2007). Rock and Roll: An Introduction. Cengage Learning. p. 77. ISBN 0-534-64295-0.
  3. ^ Robert Greenfield, The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun (Simon & Schuster November 8, 2011, ISBN 1416558381) Chapter 7
  4. ^ Nick Tosches, Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll (2nd ed. 1991), page 12-21.
  5. ^ Lynn Abbott, Doug Seroff, The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville, University Press of Mississippi, 2017, p.127
  6. ^ David Wondrich, Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot, 1843-1924, Chicago Review Press, 2003, p.138
  7. ^ "Al Bernard's song - audio file". Retrieved 2011-08-21.
  8. ^ Dawson, Jim, and Steve Propes, What Was The First Rock 'n' Roll Record ? (Faber and Faber, 1992, p. 128 and 130) ISBN 0-571-12939-0
  9. ^ a b Dawson, Jim. Rock Around the Clock : The Record that Started the Rock Revolution (Backbeat Books, 2005, pp. 95–96), ISBN 0-87930-829-X.
  10. ^ "Elvis Day By Day". Randomhouse. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  11. ^ Roger Lee Hall, Shake, Rattle and Roll: Electric Elvis and Bill Randle PineTree Press, 2010, pages 7-9
  12. ^ Elvis Presley DVD 46:26