Did you know that dozens of artists from Peggy Lee to Beyonce and Christina Aguilera have covered Little Willie John’s ‘Fever’?
Composed by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell, ’Fever’ was first recorded and released by Little Willie John in 1956. The song became a radio hit for John on the R&B formats but it was Peggy Lee’s version of the record that garnered major mainstream success.
Lee rewrote the several parts of ‘Fever’ and her simple vocal performance, backed by her clever finger snaps, took the song to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. In fact, her version even earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year in 1959 and it was so popular that many people forgot John’s original performance.
Since that time, ‘Fever’ has been covered by several artists. However, most acts, such as Elvis Presley and Beyonce, generally stuck to Lee’s arrangement and only a select few have attempted to revamp the hit. Listen to various versions of ‘Fever’ below:
Little Willie John