Shakin' All Over

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"Shakin' All Over"
Single by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates
B-side"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" (Donaldson/Kahn)
Released1960 (UK)
RecordedAbbey Road, 13 May 1960 (9 June 1959 "Yes, Sir")
GenreRhythm and blues, rock and roll
LabelHMV POP 753 (UK)[1]
Songwriter(s)Johnny Kidd, Guy Robinson[1]
Producer(s)Walter Ridley[1]
Johnny Kidd & the Pirates singles chronology
"You Got What It Takes"
"Shakin' All Over"

"Shakin' All Over" is a song originally performed by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.[1] The song was written by frontman Johnny Kidd, and his recording of it reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in August 1960.[2] Kidd's original recording was not a hit outside of Europe, and in other parts of the world "Shakin' All Over" is much better known in versions by other artists. In 1964, a local band from Plattsburgh, New York called the Twiliters recorded a live version of it. It did well in New England but did not chart nationally. The first North American cover of the song by The Guess Who was released in the spring of 1965 and reached #1 in Canada,[3] #22 in the US and #27 in Australia. In Australia, Normie Rowe's 1965 version reached #1 as a double A-side with "Que Sera Sera" and became one of the biggest-selling Australian singles of the decade.


Original Johnny Kidd version (1960)[edit]

The musicians who performed on the recording were Johnny Kidd (vocals), Alan Caddy (guitar), Brian Gregg (bass), Clem Cattini (drums) and Joe Moretti (lead guitar). Kidd was quoted as saying:

When I was going round with a bunch of lads and we happened to see a girl who was a real sizzler, we used to say that she gave us 'quivers down the membranes'. It was a standard saying with us referring to any attractive girl. I can honestly say that it was this more than anything that inspired me to write "Shakin' All Over".[4]

The Twiliters version (1964)[edit]

The Twiliters, a band from Plattsburgh, N.Y. recorded "Shakin" in early 1964 live before a crowd at a local skating rink called "Rollerland".[5] Bill Kennedy the leader of the group had been stationed in Germany in the Air Force and had heard several songs from the UK that he wanted to record. It was released on Empire Records E-4. On the flip side was a song called "Rollerland" that was actually covered by at least two acts later on.

The Guess Who's version (1965)[edit]

The original recording was not a hit outside of Europe. Instead, "Shakin' All Over" gained fame in North America after the Canadian band The Guess Who covered it in 1965, and the following year it became a number one hit in Canada, and a number twenty-two hit in the US.[6] The Guess Who had previously been known as Chad Allan and the Expressions prior to the release of "Shakin' All Over", but the group's Canadian label (Quality Records) issued the record as by "Guess Who?", in an attempt to imply that the record might be by a British Invasion act. Although the recording artist was revealed to be Chad Allan and the Expressions a couple of months later, radio DJs continued to announce the artist as "Guess Who". The group subsequently permanently changed its name to The Guess Who, and went on to a long Top 40 career.

Normie Rowe version (1965)[edit]

The Guess Who's version also became a number twenty-seven hit in Australia, but another "Shakin' All Over" cover became a national number one hit in late 1965 for Normie Rowe. Rowe's version of the track (backed by "Que Sera Sera") was one of the biggest-selling Australian singles of the decade.

Rowe had recorded his version before The Guess Who's, and based his release on Johnny Chester's 1961 version.

The Who version[edit]

"Shakin' All Over"
Song by the Who
from the album Live at Leeds
Released16 May 1970
Recorded14 February 1970
GenreHard rock
Songwriter(s)Johnny Kidd

The song has been performed many times by The Who, (sometimes in a medley with "Spoonful"), perhaps most famously at Woodstock in 1969 and on Live at Leeds in 1970. In Randy Bachman's autobiography, when he met Who bass player John Entwistle, he was told that people constantly got The Who and The Guess Who mixed up. Tired of being yelled at for not playing the song, The Who started playing the song just to keep the crowd happy. Bachman responded that The Guess Who had the same reasons for having to play "My Generation". Entwistle, a known fan of 1950s and 60s rock and roll and rockabilly music, would also perform the song with his solo band and would incorporate a bass solo into the middle of the song, accompanied only by drummer Steve Luongo.

References in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 52–3. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, "Shakin' All Over" Chart Position Retrieved March 5, 2015
  3. ^ The Guess Who, "Shakin' All Over" Canadian Chart Position Retrieved March 5, 2015
  4. ^ Einarson, John (January 22, 2017). "Record company's gimmick launched Guess Who's career". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  6. ^ The Guess Who, "Shakin' All Over" U.S. Chart Position Retrieved March 5, 2015

External links[edit]