A new generation of young, gospel-trained singers invaded the R&B scene during the mid-'50s, their innovative, melismatic excursions signaling the imminent birth of soul. Diminutive Detroiter Little Willie John stood foursquare in the vanguard of the movement; there was nothing tiny about his booming voice (or his off-stage exploits, for that matter). John, the Cullendale, AR-born younger brother of singer Mable John (whose "Your Good Thing [Is About to End]" crashed the soul charts for Memphis-based Stax in 1966), signed with Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records in 1955 and immediately hit with the swinging Titus Turner-penned jump blues "All Around the World." But it was his April 1, 1956, waxing of "Fever" that won the boisterous teen an across-the-board audience. This was no boilerplate 12-bar R&B workout: written by prolific New York tunesmith Otis Blackwell (under the pseudonym of John Davenport) and Eddie Cooley (who scored his own 1956 hit with "Priscilla"), the distinctive minor-key opus sported an ominous arrangement dominated by the low-end saxes of Ray Felder and Rufus "Nose" Gore, Bill Jennings' jazzy southpaw guitar, a moaning male vocal group, and finger-snapping that only marginally lightened the mood. John's sweaty case of love-rooted "Fever" was seemingly grave, judging from his riveting intensity, yet he doesn't sound like he minds at all. "Fever" proved John's only R&B chart-topper during the summer of 1956, vaulting to number 24 on Billboard's pop lists as well. But his wasn't the only case of "Fever" to warm up the hit parade. Two years later, the sultry Miss Peggy Lee changed the lyrics dramatically by invoking all sorts of historical parables, cooling the tempo down into torchy lounge mode over only bass and bongos, and supplying the finger-snaps herself, and cracked the Top Ten for Capitol. During his initial 1960 post-Army sessions for RCA Victor, it was Elvis Presley's turn to contract "Fever," displaying allegiance to Lee's arrangement, and in 1965, the McCoys made it two major hits in a row for Bert Berns' Bang imprint by making "Fever" sound a lot like their previous smash, "Hang on Sloopy."