You Shook Me

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For the AC/DC song, see You Shook Me All Night Long.
"You Shook Me"
1963 UK EP picture sleeve.
Single by Muddy Waters
B-side "Muddy Waters Twist"
Released 1962 (1962)
Format 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Chicago, May 3, 1961 (instrumental) and June 27, 1962 (vocal)
Genre Blues
Length 2:44
Label Chess (no. 1827)
Writer(s) Willie Dixon, J. B. Lenoir[1]
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess

"You Shook Me" is a 1962 blues song recorded by Chicago blues artist Muddy Waters. It features a vocal by Muddy Waters in unison with a slide-guitar melody by Earl Hooker. "You Shook Me" became one of Muddy Waters' most successful early-1960s singles and has been interpreted by several blues and rock artists.


"You Shook Me" has a history that is unique among Muddy Waters' songs — it is the first of his songs to feature his vocals overdubbed onto an existing commercially-released song. "Blue Guitar", a slide-guitar blues instrumental, was recorded during a May 3, 1961 recording session by Earl Hooker for Chief Records. To start the session, Hooker and his backup band played a "warm-up" song, loosely fashioned on earlier Hooker songs. One take was recorded, apparently unknown to Hooker. Backing Earl Hooker (slide guitar) were A.C. Reed and Ernest Cotton (tenor saxophones), Johnny "Big Moose" Walker (organ, piano), Ernest Johnson (electric bass), and Bobby Little (drums).[2] Some sessionographies also list Willie Dixon (double bass), Lafayette Leake or Otis Spann (piano), and Casey Jones (drums).[3][4][5]

Chief owner/producer Mel London later released it in 1962 on subsidiary Age Records with the title "Blue Guitar", listing Earl Hooker as the artist and writer. The single became popular in Chicago and "sold unusually well for an instrumental blues side".[6] Chicago-area blues musicians were soon performing the song during their engagements.

Muddy Waters song[edit]

Chess Records owner/producer Leonard Chess, aware of greater potential for the song, approached Chief's London about using "Blue Guitar" for Muddy Waters' next record. A deal was struck and on June 27, 1962 Muddy Waters overdubbed a vocal track to Hooker's 1961 recording with lyrics credited to Willie Dixon and J.B. Lenoir.[7] Despite its artificiality, it "worked surprisingly well due in large part to the musicians' shared background [both being from the Mississippi Delta area]".[8] Chess released it with the title "You Shook Me".

Dixon's lyrics have been compared to other songs he wrote for Chicago blues artists, such as "I Can't Quit You Baby" for Otis Rush and "Mad Love" for Muddy Waters. However, "You Shook Me" also conveys the consequences of a married man's extramartial affairs:[9]

You know you shook me baby, you shook me all night long (2×)
Oh you kept on shakin' me darlin', oh you messed up my happy home

For his melody line, Muddy Waters simply doubles Hooker's slide-guitar lines, giving the song its distinctive "hook". "You Shook Me" is a moderately-slow tempo twelve-bar blues, notated in 12/8 time in the key of D.[10] Although "You Shook Me" did not reach the national record charts, it was successful enough for Leonard Chess to try to repeat;[11] in October 1962, he had Muddy Waters overdub three more Earl Hooker instrumentals. One of these, "You Need Love" (see "Whole Lotta Love"), was also successful and "sold better than Muddy's early sixties recordings".[11]

In the UK, Pye Records released these Muddy Waters/Earl Hooker songs on a four-song extended play 45 rpm record or "EP" in 1963. Reportedly, this EP was a favorite of then-teenagers Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.[12] Manager/producer Giorgio Gomelsky has claimed that he arranged a meeting where Dixon (along with Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson II) introduced unreleased recordings of several songs, including "You Shook Me" and "Little Red Rooster", to Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Brian Jones, John Mayall, and others;[13] Dixon recalled giving out "lots of tapes [of songs] when I was over there", which were later recorded by the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones.[14]

Jeff Beck Group recording[edit]

English guitarist Jeff Beck recorded "You Shook Me" with the first Jeff Beck Group line-up during the sessions for the Truth album in May 1968. Beck's hard rock arrangement has been called "bone-pounding" and was a highlight of their live performances with "dynamic interplay between Jeff's guitar and Rod's [Rod Stewart's] voice".[15] Beck utilized fuzz-box and wah-wah pedal guitar effects for his extensive fills around Stewart's vocals as well as his solo. The song concludes with guitar-amplifier feedback, which Beck described in the Truth liner notes "Last note of song is my guitar being sick — well so would you if I smashed your guts for 2:28".[16] Beck biographer Martin Power added "Jeff's solo at the end of 'You Shook Me' indeed lived up to his claim, vomiting all over Rod's shoes at the conclusion".[17]

For the recording, studio session musician John Paul Jones (who played bass on "Beck's Bolero" and the Yardbirds' "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago") contributed the organ part, which he would do later for Led Zeppelin's version.[5] Although Columbia distributed a promotional 45 rpm "demonstration record" of "You Shook Me", a single was not released to the general public. The song is included on Truth and several Jeff Beck compilations.

Led Zeppelin version[edit]

"You Shook Me"
Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin
Released January 12, 1969 (1969-01-12)
Recorded September–October 1968
Genre Blues rock,[5] psychedelic blues[18]
Length 6:28
Label Atlantic
Producer Jimmy Page

English rock band Led Zeppelin recorded "You Shook Me" for their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin. It has been described as "a heavy, pummeling bit of post-psychedelic blues-rock, with healthy doses of vocal histrionics from Robert Plant and guitar fireworks from Jimmy Page".[5] At nearly six and a half minutes, it is considerably longer than the Muddy Waters or Jeff Beck recordings. Except for the breaks during the song's guitar solo, Led Zeppelin uses a straightforward twelve-bar blues arrangement, but performed at a slower tempo.

During the opening and closing vocal sections, Page takes Earl Hooker's slide-guitar lines and stretches them out using liberal amounts of guitar effects, with Plant's vocal matching them note for note. Plant uses Willie Dixon's opening verses, but also incorporates some from Robert Johnson's "Stones in My Passway": "I have a bird that whistles and I have birds that sings". The instrumental part consists of three twelve-bar sections for John Paul Jones on organ, Plant on harmonica, and Page on guitar to solo. The accompaniment, while appearing casual, has been described as "very tightly arranged, even down to [John] Bonham's strict limitation of his cymbals to a ride splash in each bar and hi-hat beats in unison with his bass-drum pedal".[19]

Jones double tracked the organ and the electric piano. Page used his "backward echo" technique on this towards the end with Robert Plant's vocals and the guitar. This production technique involved hearing the echo before the main sound instead of after it, achieved by turning the tape over and employing the echo on a spare track, then turning the tape back over again to get the echo preceding the signal. Page had originally developed the method when recording the single "Ten Little Indians" with The Yardbirds in 1967.[20] In an interview with Guitar Magazine in 1993 Page recalled how the backwards echo effect came together on this song: "I told the engineer, Glyn Johns, that I wanted to use backwards echo on the end. He said, 'Jimmy, it can't be done.' I said 'Yes, it can. I've already done it.' Then he began arguing, so I said, 'Look, I'm the producer. I'm going to tell you what to do, and just do it.' So he grudgingly did everything I told him to, and when we were finished he started refusing to push the fader up so I could hear the result. Finally, I had to scream, 'Push the bloody fader up!' And lo and behold, the effect worked perfectly."[21]

Led Zeppelin regularly performed "You Shook Me" during their concert tours until October 1969, and occasionally thereafter when the group began to incorporate more material from subsequent albums into their on-stage performances. Two versions from 1969 are included on their BBC Sessions album. The 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD has a 1970 performance from the Royal Albert Hall as part of a medley during "How Many More Times". Jimmy Page performed this song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999, a version of which can be found on the album Live at the Greek.

Disagreement over influence[edit]

Since their version was released nine months after Beck's and have similarities, Led Zeppelin have been accused of stealing Beck's idea. Page chalks it up to coincidence, citing his and Beck's similar background and tastes, and denied hearing Beck's version. Page in 1977 elaborated:

[Beck] had the same sort of taste in music as I did. That's why you'll find on the early LPs we both did a song like "You Shook Me." It was the type of thing we'd both played in bands. Someone told me he'd already recorded it after we'd already put it down on the first Zeppelin album. I thought, "Oh dear, it's going to be identical," but it was nothing like it, fortunately. I just had no idea he'd done it. It was on Truth but I first heard it when I was in Miami after we'd recorded our version. It's a classic example of coming from the same area musically, of having a similar taste.[22]

However, Beck biographer Annette Carson notes "during a 1976 interview with NME's Billy Altman, Beck attested to [the fact that Page had accompanied Peter Grant to several Jeff Beck Group gigs when they first played America], stating that '[Jimmy] was going with us from city to city, taking things in'. Rod Stewart made a similar claim about Page on a US radio show during the eighties".[23] Carson adds, "Both Beck and Stewart had vivid memories of Jimmy Page traveling around with their U.S. tour that summer, when he'd obviously listened to all their material".[24]

Led Zeppelin biographer Mick Wall also points out in When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin that "Peter Grant had given him [Jimmy Page] an advance copy of Truth weeks before its release" and "it seems inconceivable that John Paul Jones would not have mentioned at some point that he had actually played Hammond organ on the Truth version".[25] Major differences between both versions include the prominence afforded Nicky Hopkins keyboard playing in the Mickie Most mix, and that Rod Stewart sings only two verses in the Jeff Beck recording.[26]


Other recordings[edit]

Several blues and rock artists have recorded renditions of "You Shook Me", including:[27] the Blues Band, Willie Dixon, Etta James, B.B. King, George Lynch, Artimus Pyle, Mick Taylor and Bryan Adams for his 2014 album Tracks of My Years.


  1. ^ On the original Chess singles, only Dixon is listed.
  2. ^ Inaba 2011, song index.
  3. ^ Muddy Waters — The Chess Box (Box set booklet). Muddy Waters. Chess Records. 1989. p. 29. CHD3–80092. 
  4. ^ Wight, Phil; Rothwell, Fred. "The Complete Muddy Waters Discography" (PDF). Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Janovitz, Bill. "You Shook Me – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Danchin 2001, p. 139.
  7. ^ Other than being listed as a writer, there is no information about Lenoir's involvement, if any. Lenoir is best known for the songs he recorded — he did not record "You Shook Me".
  8. ^ Gordon 2002, p. 182.
  9. ^ Inaba 2011, p. 191.
  10. ^ The Blues. Hal Leonard Corporation. 1995. pp. 249–251. ISBN 0-7935-5259-1. 
  11. ^ a b Danchin 2001, p. 140.
  12. ^ Wall p. 57.
  13. ^ Dixon, Snowden 1989, p. 135.
  14. ^ Dixon, Snowden 1989, p. 134.
  15. ^ Power 2011, p. 163.
  16. ^ Beck, Jeff (1968). Truth (Media notes). Jeff Beck Group. Columbia. SCX 6293. 
  17. ^ Power 2011, p. 155.
  18. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Shadwick 2005, p. 49.
  20. ^ Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", Guitar World, January 1998.
  21. ^ Interview with Jimmy Page, Guitar World magazine, 1993
  22. ^ Dave Schulps, Interview with Jimmy Page, Trouser Press, October 1977.
  23. ^ Power 2011, p. 163–164.
  24. ^ Carson 2001, p. 85.
  25. ^ Wall 2008, p. 57.
  26. ^ Gregg Akkerman, (2014) "You Shook Me", Experiencing Led Zeppelin: A Listener's Companion, p.7, ISBN 978-0-8108-8915-6
  27. ^ "You Shook Me — Search Results". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved July 6, 2013.