Jerry Lee Lewis

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Song Review by

The song that will forever be linked to the piano-pounding shenanigans of Jerry Lee Lewis was actually written by country pianist Roy Hall (under the pseudonym of Sunny David) and a black musician named Dave Williams. Hall, who had recorded earlier for Fortune and as a backing musician in Webb Pierce's band, was the first to record the song for Decca in 1955. In August of that same year, the song was covered for the R&B market by Big Maybelle on OKeh. Both of these versions are drastically different from the version that entered into rock & roll and pop culture history in 1957. Jerry Lee Lewis took a mere fragment of the song, recast it into a relentless, pounding boogie rhythm, and imbued the finished product with a leering sexuality that was unmistakable on first listen. Jerry Lee's original Sun single differs from all other cover versions -- and Lewis' own re-recordings of it -- by virtue of its rhythm. Propelled by Sun session drummer J.M. Van Eaton, the track totters precariously between a straight shuffle and a modified swing rhythm, constantly shifting beats throughout the performance. With no bass player (only Jerry Lee's left hand on the piano), Roland Janes' guitar fills in the middle, and the rest of the track simply simmers in tape echo. Almost nigh to perfect as a record and as a performance, this is another record that time has turned into the accepted arrangement on how to approach this song, no matter what its origins may have been.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Jerry Lee Lewis [1957] 1957 Rhino 2:49
No Image 1965 London
The Golden Rock Hits of Jerry Lee Lewis 1969 Smash Records 2:39
The Session 1973 Mercury 0:00
Golden Hits [Smash] 1974 Smash Records
No Image 1975 Mercury
No Image 1976 Charly Records
No Image 1977 Charly Records
Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On 1978 Deluxe 2:53
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:51
Diner 1982
Original Soundtrack
Elektra 2:51
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MGM / UA
No Image 1986 Charly Records
Up Through the Years, 1958-1963 1988 Bear Family Records 2:54
Wild One: Rare Tracks 1989 Rhino 3:17
Oldies But Goodies: 21 #1 Hits 1990
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:51
The Baby Boomer Classics: The Best of 50s Party 1990
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:53
Eis Am Stiel, Vol. 4 1991
Original Soundtrack
Ariola
Rockabilly Memories 1992
Various Artists
Intersound 2:52
All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology 1993 Rhino 2:52
Rock N Roll 1957 1993
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:53
The Locust Years...And the Return to the Promised Land 1994 Bear Family Records 2:40
The Sun Records Collection [Rhino] 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 2:52
Country Classics [Sun] 1995
Various Artists
Sun Record Company 2:52
Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:55
Rock & Roll [Richmond] 1996
Various Artists
Richmond 2:53
Whole Lot of Shakin' [K-Tel] 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:52
World of Rock N Roll 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:52
The Hit Box 1 1996
Various Artists
United Multi Consign 7:24
Only Rock 'N Roll 1955-1959: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:54
Whole Lotta Shakin Goin' On [Allegiance] 1996 Allegiance Records
Rock 'N' Roll Nonstop Party Mix 1997
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:08
Rockfile, Vol. 9 1997
Various Artists
Rockfile 2:49
20th Century Rocks, Vol. 3: '50s Rock 'n Roll Whole Lot of Shakin' 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:54
Greatest Rock & Roll Party, Vol. 3 1997
Various Artists
Great Hits 2:50
Roots of Rock & Roll [Deuce] 1997 Deuce 2:32
Remember the 50's [Intercontinental] 1997
Various Artists
Intercontinental Records 2:52
Golden Rock & Roll Hits of the 50's, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 2:38
Whole Lotta Rock: 1957 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:55
Piano Man 1997 Javelin 4:25
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings
Rockin 88's: Their Greatest Hits 1998 Beacon Records
Super Hits: Great Balls of Fire 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:54
The Best of Jerry Lee Lewis [Music Club] 1998 Music Club Records 2:52
Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll [Fine Tune] 1998
Various Artists
Fine Tune 2:50
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Vintage Hits 1998
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:53
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On: The Very Best of Jerry Lee Lewis 1999 Collectables 2:52
Hot Rod Box Set 1999
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 2:42
Rockin' the Blues 1999
Various Artists
St. Clair / Center Stage Productions 3:14
Very Best of Jerry Lee Lewis [Crimson] 1999 Crimson Productions 2:53
Original Golden Hits, Vols. 1-2 1999 Collectables 2:56
The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Album of All Time 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 4:25
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:53
Feels So Good [Direct Source] 1999
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:46
The Very Best of Jerry Lee Lewis [Collectables] 2000 Collectables 2:56
Country Hits [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:22
Great Balls of Fire [DJ Specialist] 2000 DJ Specialist 2:53
Sun Records: The Definitive Hits 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 2:51
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 4 & 5 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:51
25 All-Time Greatest Sun Recordings 2000 Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:55
Whole Lotta Rock 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:37
Roots of Rock 'N' Roll 2000 Direct Source 2:37
Rock 'n' Roll Memories [Box Set] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:37
The Best of Sun Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Original Sun Recordings (Italy) 2:57
Sun Records Rockabilly Legends 2000
Various Artists
Edeltone 2:54
Forever Gold: 50's Decade 2000
Various Artists
Boxsets 0:00
Mercury Smashes...And Rockin' Sessions 2000 Bear Family Records 7:14
Greatest Hits of the 50's [BMG Greeting Card CD] 2000
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:53
50s Party Pack 2001
Various Artists
Legacy 2:31
The Sun Records Story 2001
Various Artists
Sun Record Company 2:52
San Francisco 49ers: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 2:37
Sun Records: The Definitive Hits, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:51
The Legends Collection 2001 Dressed To Kill 4:25
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:52
That's Rock and Roll 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:54
The Sun Story Sampler 2001
Various Artists
Original Sun Recordings (Italy) 2:56
A Year in Your Life: 1950's, Vol. 3 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 2:52
The Legendary Story of Sun Records [Metro] 2002
Various Artists
Metro 2:54
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:51
Kings of Rock & Roll 2002 Spectrum Music 4:01
The Legends Collection: Rock 'n' Roll Teenagers 2002
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill / Legends Collection 4:23
Sun Records 50th Anniversary Collection 2002
Various Artists
Buddha Records 2:54
Golden Oldies, Vol. 9 [Original Sound 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:52
Great Balls of Fire! 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:52
16 Thrillers from the Killer 2003 Varese 4:11
That Breathless Cat 2003 Stompertime 4:30
Top Hits of 1957 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:52
Rock and Roll Generation, Vol. 1 2003
Various Artists
Compendia Music Group 2:52
The Killer [American Legends] 2003 American Legends 7:21
Hall of Fame 2003 Delta Distribution 2:40
Great Balls of Fire and Other Hits 2003 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:52
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:51
Members Edition 2003 United Audio Entertainment 7:22
The 20 Most Requested 2004 Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:54
Platinum & Gold Collection 2004 BMG Heritage 2:54
The Collection [Madacy] 2004 Madacy 2:55
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:53
Golden Era of Rock 'n' Roll: 1954-1963 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:53
The Core of Rockabilly 2004
Various Artists
Red X 2:53
I Love Rock & Roll, Vol. 17 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:54
Essential Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Laserlight 2:53
Rock N Roll: Gold Collection 2004
Various Artists
Dejavu Retro 2:56
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Collectables
The Platinum Collection [Direct Source] 2004 Direct Source 2:54
Legends of Rock 'N' Roll [Eagle Vision] 2004
Various Artists
Eagle Vision
Jerry Lee Lewis [Platinum] 2004 Platinum Disc 2:54
Sun Records: 25 Rock 'N' Roll Classics 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:56
Orby Records Spotlights Jerry Lee Lewis 2004 Orbison Records 2:55
Greatest Hits [Pulse] 2004 Castle Pulse 2:53
Golden Era of the 50's [Bonus DVD] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:35
Sun Records Collection [Pazzazz] 2005
Various Artists
Pazzazz 2:51
Legends of Rock & Roll [Legacy DVD] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy
The Essential Jerry Lee Lewis: The Legendary Sun Recordings 2005 Union Square Music / Metro 2:53
This Is Gold 2005 Disky 2:54
Best of Sun Records, Vol. 1 [Pazzazz] 2005
Various Artists
Pazzazz 2:51
Killer Kuts: The Sun Years 2005 Infinity Entertainment Group / Sterling 2:54
Simply Rock 'N' Roll 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:54
Rock ‘N’ Roll Wild Man 2005 American Legends 4:07
Rock Around the Clock: 36 All Time Rock and Roll C 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:54
Best of Jerry Lee Lewis [Direct Source] 2005 Direct Source 2:54
Let the Good Times Roll: 1955-1959 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Most Famous Hits [DVD] 2006
Golden Rockin Hits, Vol. 5 2006
Various Artists
CBUJ Distribution 2:56
A Half Century of Hits 2006 Time / Life Music 4:29
Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Country Hit Parade 2006 Direct Source 2:54
No Image
Various Artists
Sun Record Company 2:52
Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:42
No Image Koch