The Everly Brothers

Wake Up Little Susie

Composed by Boudleaux Bryant / Felice Bryant

Song Review by

Having just gotten their first big hit with "Bye Bye Love," the Everly Brothers faced one of their biggest challenges in sustaining that success with a follow-up single. "Wake Up Little Susie" was a major triumph in that it was just as popular as "Bye Bye Love"; in fact, it was more popular and achieved the remarkable feat of going all the way to number one in the pop, country, and R&B charts. It was written by the same songwriting team, Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant, responsible for "Bye Bye Love," yet sounded different enough that it avoided trapping the Everly Brothers into a formula. Like "Bye Bye Love," though, "Wake Up Little Susie" was built around rousing, rhythmic acoustic guitar riffs which were especially prominent in the song's introduction. The Everlys' characteristic ebullient harmonies paced the insistent chorus, their vocal lines rejoined by especially emphatic, somewhat bluesy, guitar licks. The tune's lyrics, in contrast to the immediately memorable melody and arrangement, sound a tad corny these days: a teen fretting over his date having fallen asleep at the pictures, and even worse, having to face their parents with some kind of explanation. The worries got a bit salacious in the bridge, where the brothers went into a somewhat more ominous melody and more declarative responsive electric rockabilly guitar licks, ending with special concern over what to tell their friends when they were taunted with cries of -- and here the pair went into especially buoyant harmonies -- "ooh la la!" Sounds pretty innocuous, but actually the song was controversial in its day, among the primmer guardians of morality at any rate, who suspected that the teenage pair of "Wake Up Little Susie" had not fallen asleep at the movies, but fallen asleep in bed, together. Apparently that was enough to get it banned from some radio stations. But judging from its untoppable chart performance, it couldn't have gotten banned from that many stations, and whatever bans it suffered couldn't have had that much of an adverse effect.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1957 1957
Various Artists
Rhino 2:03
The Everly Brothers [Cadence] 1958 Ace 2:01
The Everly Brothers' Best 1959 Cadence Records 2:06
No Image 1962
The Very Best of the Everly Brothers 1964 Warner Bros. 2:00
The  Everly Brothers Show 1970 Rhino / Warner Bros. 1:42
Walk Right Back [Warner Brothers] 1976 Warner Bros.
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:05
No Image 1981 Warner Bros.
The Reunion Concert 1983 Recall (UK) 2:21
No Image 1984 Ace
Greatest Hits 1985 Astan 2:01
The Collection 1986 Castle Music Ltd. 2:03
Bye Bye Love [Entertainers] 1987 Music Digital
All-Time Greatest Hits 1990 Curb 2:03
The Baby Boomer Classics: The Best of 50s Party 1990
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:02
Reunion Concert: Live at the Royal Albert Hall [Video] 1991 Eagle Rock
Radio Gold [Ace] 1992
Various Artists
Ace 2:00
Hi-Fi Rock & Roll Party 1993
Various Artists
Ace 1:58
Rock N Roll 1957 1993
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 1:57
Music from the Wonder Years, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight 2:04
Golden Hits [Hollywood] 1994 Hollywood 2:02
Heartaches & Harmonies [Box Set] 1994 Rhino 2:03
Music from The Wonder Years 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight
Only Rock 'N Roll 1955-1959: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:02
Through the Years '50s 1995
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese
The Cadence Story 1995
Various Artists
Ace 2:05
Rock 'N' Roll Days 1995
Various Artists
L & D
History of Cadence Records, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:03
Essential Collection [Delta] 1996 Laserlight 2:04
Golden Classics: 20 Original Cadence Recordings 1996 Masters Intercontinental 2:03
In Concert [Excelsior] 1996 Excelsior Recordings 2:28
Rock 'N' Roll Nonstop Party Mix 1997
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:04
Rockfile, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Rockfile 2:00
Greatest Rock & Roll Party, Vol. 3 1997
Various Artists
Great Hits 2:01
The Best Rock 'N' Roll Album in the World...Ever 1997
Various Artists
Virgin 1:59
Greatest Love Songs, Vol. 2 1997 Prism Entertainment 2:35
Remember the 50's [Intercontinental] 1997
Various Artists
Intercontinental Records 2:05
This Is the Everly Brothers: 16 of Their Greatest Hits 1997 Music Club Records
EP Collection 1997 See For Miles Records 2:00
Whole Lotta Rock: 1957 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:02
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings
The Very Best of the Everly Brothers [Crimson] 1998 Crimson Productions 2:03
Party Favorites [Intercontinental] 1998
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:12
Brothers in Rhythm 1998 Recall (UK)
Wake Up Little Susie: The Best of the Everly Brothers 1998 Delta Distribution 1:59
Best Sellers of the 50's 1998
Various Artists
Disky Communications 2:01
Cruisin' [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Super Sellers of the 50's 1998
Various Artists
Empire Super Doubles 2:00
Millennium's Greatest Rock N Roll Party 1998
Various Artists
Connoisseur 1:59
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Vintage Hits 1998
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:01
Mega Country [10 CD] 1998
Various Artists
Americana Records, Inc.
Classic Country: Golden 50's [1998] [2 CD] 1998
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:02
40 Hits: 1955-1959 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 2:01
Loud, Fast & Out of Control: The Wild Sounds of the '50s [Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:02
Soundtrack Jams, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:04
Baby That Is Rock 'n' Roll 1999
Various Artists
Ace 2:03
Millennium Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Disky 2:02
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:01
Walk Right Back: 20 All-Time Hits 1999 Prism Leisure 2:14
Collector's Edition [Two Disc] 2000 Madacy 2:01
Live [BCI] 2000 Brentwood Communications 2:28
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:02
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 7-9 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:05
70 Ounces of Gold: Party Gold 2000
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:03
New Millennium 50's Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:01
Soundtrack Jams 2000
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:04
20 Great Cruisin' Favourites, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
Cascade Records 1:59
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through the Years 2000
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:05
Wake Up, Little Suzie [Delta] 2000 Delta Distribution 1:59
Teenagers in Love [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:12
The Complete Cadence Recordings: 1957-1960 2001 Varese 2:06
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through Years - The 50's 2001
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:05
In Concert [Castle] 2001 Castle Pulse 2:34
Teenage Idols [4 Discs] 2001
Various Artists
Disky Communications 2:00
That's Rock and Roll 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:14
The Legends Collection 2001 Legends Collection 2:36
29 Golden Greats: Live 2001 Prism Leisure 2:35
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '50s, Vols. 4 & 5 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 3:02
Happy Days 50's & 60's 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:00
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:00
Then: Totally Oldies, Vol. 3 2002
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:06
In Concert [Brentwood] 2002 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Brentwood Records 2:28
No Image 2002 Time Music 2:35
The Legends Collection: Rock 'n' Roll Teenagers 2002
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill / Legends Collection 2:35
Best of Millennium Collection 2002 WEA International 2:01
A Night at the Royal Albert Hall 2002 Cleopatra 2:37
12 Hits: Five Star Collection 2002 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:06
The Ultimate Collection 2002 Madacy 2:01
The Definitive Everly Brothers 2002 WEA International 2:06
Very Best of the Cadence Era 2002 Repertoire
Gold Collection: The Everly Brothers Live 2002 St. Clair 2:15
Live/Reunion Concert 2003 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 2:28
Top Hits of 1957 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:02
Rock and Roll Generation, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Compendia Music Group / Intersound 2:00
Fabulous 50's [2003 Madacy Box] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:16
Rockabilly Revival 2003
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records
Drivin' Rock 'N' Roll [Castle Pulse] 2003
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 2:17
Classic American Voices 2003 Direct Source 2:05
Wake Up Little Susie and Other Hits 2003 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:05
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Everly Brothers 2003 Hip-O 2:05
The Fabulous Fifties: Back to the Fifties [Time Life] 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Disky
20 Best of 50s Rock 'n' Roll 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:14
Happy Days of Rock 'n' Roll 50s [Bonus DVD] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:16
Almost There! A Collection of the Greatest Original Number 2 Hits [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Disky 2:00
I Love Rock & Roll, Vol. 17 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:01
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Collectables
Fabulous 50s 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:14
The Best of Everly Brothers: Live 2004 Essential Records 2:20
This Is Gold 2004 Disky 2:00
This Is Gold [CD 1] 2004 Disky 2:00
Happy Days of Rock 'n' Roll 50s 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:16
Jukebox Goodies 2005
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:12
Rock 'N Roll Greats [Crimson] 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:00
All American No. 1 Hits 2005
Various Artists
Jvc Victor
Originals 2005 Simply The Best (Netherlands) 2:01
Radio Hits from the 50's 2005
Various Artists
Disky 2:01
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Disky
Rock N Roll Diner 2005
Various Artists
Metro 2:01
Platinum Collection 2005 WEA International / WEA
The Solid Gold Collection: 36 Timeless Tracks 2005 Solid Gold Records 2:02
Golden Years 2005 WEA International 2:03
Dream: The Best of the Everly Brothers [Music Club] 2005 Music Club International Records / Music Club Deluxe 2:06
World of Rock'n Roll, Vol. 3 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:14
Let the Good Times Roll: 1955-1959 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:00
The Price of Fame 1960-1965 [Box Set] 2006 Bear Family Records 2:01
20th Century Masters: Best of 50s Rock N Roll 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 2:00
The Everly Brothers Live 2006 Madacy 2:11
Rockin' 50s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Cas 2:16
All Time Greatest Hits 2006 EQ
Chained to a Memory 1966-1972 2006 Bear Family Records 1:42
The Everly Brothers Live [Madacy] 2006 Madacy 2:13
Rock N Roll of the 50s & 60s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:15
Capital Gold 50's Legends 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:00
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino 2:03
No Image 2006 CD Horizon / Horizon
Greatest Ever! Country 2006
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 2:02
30 #1 Party Hits 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:14
Essential Collection [Red Box] 2006 Demon 2:14
#1 Hits of the 50s and 60s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:13
The Price of Love [Denon] 2006 Denon Records 2:14
Rock Hits: 18 Greatest 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:14
Wake Up, Little Susie 2007 Phantom Import Distribution / Double Pleasure / Music Products BV 2:34
When Will I Be Loved? 2007 Snapper 2:05
Forever Gold: Number 1, 50s Pop 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:14
The Everly Brothers [Madacy] 2007 Madacy 2:01
50s Rock 'N' Roll Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:14
Number 1 Pop Hits of the 50s, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:14
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:01
Birth of Rock N Roll 50s 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:15
Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Vol. 4: Dance, Dance, Dance 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:01
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Delta 2:00
Greatest Country Hits of 1957 2008
Various Artists
Acrobat 1:59
Best of Hits: 50's Best 2008
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:14
Malt Shop Favorites [Madacy] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:14
Rock 'N' Roll: The Essential Collection 2008
Various Artists
Avid Jazz / West End Records 1:59
Hit Parade 1957 2008
Various Artists
Dynamic 1:59
101 Driving Songs 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 2:00
25 Best: Hits of the 1950's 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:14
101 Rock 'N' Roll Songs 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 2:00
Rock & Roll 50's [Madacy] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:16
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Backline 1:58
Music Inspired by American Graffiti 2008
Various Artists
Not Now Music 1:58
Top Hits of the 50s: Rockin' Hits, Vol. 1 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 2:02
50's Super Hits 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:57
Number One Hits: 66 US Hits of the 50's 2008
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings 2:00
Rock and Roll: 50's and 60's 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:15
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Polystar / Universal Music
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Golden Decade / Membran 1:56
Drug Stores and Soda Pops: 75 Slabs of Teen 2008
Various Artists
Acrobat 1:56
50 Years of Hits 2008 Warner Bros. 2:03
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Collectables
Superhits Collection 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:57
The Everly Brothers [Pickwick] 2009 Pickwick 2:03
Kings of Rock 'n' Roll [Not Now] 2009
Various Artists
Not Now Music 1:58
When Dad Was a Lad: Hits of the Fifties 2009
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings 2:03
Original Hits: Rock 'N' Roll 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:01
All We Had to Do Was Dream 2010 Jasmine Records 2:06
No Image 2010
Various Artists
EMI 2:00
60 Bar-B-Que Sizzlers 2010
Various Artists
Big 3 / Proper Records / Proper UK 2:03
23 Greatest Hits Companion
No Image Arista
Absolute Hits of the 50's
Various Artists
Eva
De Pre Historie: 1957, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 2:02
Greatest Hits of 1957
Various Artists
Great Voices of the Century 2:02
No Image Ace
Jukebox Classics [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 2:02
No Image Ace
No Image Atlantic
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