The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)

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"The Wallflower"
Single by Etta James and the Peaches
B-side"Hold Me, Squeeze Me"
Released1955 (1955)
Format10-inch 78 rpm & 7-inch 45 rpm
Recorded1954
GenreRhythm and blues
Length3:07
LabelModern (947)
Songwriter(s)

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

Lyrics and release[edit]

The song was written by Johnny Otis, Hank Ballard, and Etta James. Etta James recorded it for Modern Records, with uncredited vocal responses from Richard Berry. It was popularly known as "Roll with Me Henry." This original version was considered too risque to play on pop radio stations.

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)."

Under the title "The Wallflower," the single became a rhythm and blues hit, topping the U.S. R&B chart for 4 weeks. On Billboard's Top R&B Records of 1955 list, the single ranked No. 6 according to retail sales, No. 3 according to disk jockey plays and No. 15 according to jukebox plays.[1]

Accolades[edit]

In 2008, Etta James received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 1955 recording.[2]

Georgia Gibbs version[edit]

In 1955, the song was covered for the pop market by Georgia Gibbs, with uncredited vocal responses from Thurl Ravenscroft, under 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,[3] and number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1958, Etta James made her own cover version of "Dance with Me Henry."

Other covers[edit]

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.[4]

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.[5] It was also included in the films Sister Act and Back to the Future.


References[edit]

  1. ^ "1955's Top R&B Records" (PDF). Billboard: 20. January 7, 1956.
  2. ^ 2008 Grammy newsletter Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955-1999 (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, 2000), 255, 921.
  4. ^ Roger Wilmut (1976). The Goon Show Companion. Robson Books.
  5. ^ Jim Mulholland (1977). The Abbott and Costello Book. Popular Library. pp. 216–219.