Jun 04


Popular37 comments • 9,934 views

#105, 6th August 1960

It began as a lad’s joke – one of the band saw a girl he fancied, “she gives me quivers in me membranes” he would tell the rest. It began as a riff and a baseline jabbed out in thirty minutes. It began as a B-Side. The marvel of pop (and the reason a biographical approach seems so lacking sometimes) is how circumstances as drab as these produce wonders.

“Shaking All Over”‘s first seconds announce it as something special. A lash of electric guitar carves an arc in the silence; as it ends a prowling bassline begins. This music has charge and real threat: the marvel lies in how that charge affects the singer. In a sense “Shaking All Over” is a premonition of the Stones – English boys turned wild by rock. But Mick Jagger sang as a predator, focusing and using his lust: Johnny Kidd feels the same energies but he can’t control them. He sounds haunted as well as hungry, stricken by desire, body in disobedient spasm.

There has been nothing like this at No.1 before; certainly nothing British. Close to perfect, its only great flaw is the showy drum roll and solo that rounds it out, effectively dissipating the spooked energy “Shaking All Over” has built.



  1. 1
    Joe Williams on 29 Aug 2005 #

    Brilliant record. I’d be tempted to give this 10/10 myself. Many years ago I recorded a cover version of this. It wasn’t very good.

  2. 2
    Lena on 14 Feb 2006 #

    I’ve never heard this, but I have heard the cover by Chad Allen & The Expressions (I think that was their name) who later became The Guess Who. Very good garage rock!

  3. 3
    intothefireuk on 16 Oct 2006 #

    Agree – this stands out from everything around it as completely different and new. The guitars are deliberately turned up and for the first time you can hear the beginnings of distortion on a number one single. It has a vibrancy that has been severely lacking up till now on previous so-called rock & roll singles. The first true UK rock tune IMHO.

  4. 4
    Adrian on 25 Oct 2006 #

    I run the Johnny Kidd website and though I agree it is a standout track for the time – written with the freedom of knowledge that it was for the B-side of the disc – even I believe that Sir Cliff Richard’s “Move It” remains the first true British Rock piece. And like “Shakin” even that was going to be the flip – there’s a story there somewhere….!

  5. 5
    Tom on 25 Oct 2006 #

    Thanks for commenting Adrian. I’m not disputing that “Move It” is the first British rock record – but it didn’t get to #1, so I’d put “Shakin All Over” as the first British rock #1, perhaps!

  6. 6
    Adrian on 27 Oct 2006 #

    Hi Tom. I wish I’d never looked into it now…. “Shakin” only went to the top in one of the four(?) charts around at that time, in the “Record Retailer” chart (as used by Guinness) as it was regarded to be the most reliable industry-standard chart at the time and lasted through the sixties. (I sometimes think that certain records which maybve only scraped into the top ten were better than the then-current number one.) In reverse, the Beatle’s “Please Please Me” I believe went to the top in all charts, except “Record Retailer”, so number 2 it officially is!

  7. 7
    van isacker francis on 9 Dec 2006 #

    From Belgium

    Where and how can I get this “” very original “” Shaking all over from Johnny Kidd & the Pirates

    Wish to down load it as I believe it was at this periode a real cracker……at that time I was 13 years old !
    Thanks to the …..helper !!

  8. 8
    Adrian on 15 Feb 2007 #

    You Tube has a home-made video to the song, get it for free that way…. no JK in person though as no footage is known to suvive.

    Otherwise, the original single and re-issues turns up on eBay from time to time. You can also get it on new-ish CD’s fromm the same place.

    Try Woolworths site to hear previews, and buy the track alone for 79p!

  9. 9
    Waldo on 19 Apr 2007 #

    A truly great record and so far ahead of its time, it beggars belief. The middle-bit is magnificent.

  10. 10
    Phil on 2 Jun 2007 #

    I beleive the drum intro to the solo was added as a filler because the track was too short. Has anyone else noticed that Adam Faith’s “Made You” which was in the charts at the same time as “Shaking” has a very similar guitar figure? I saw Kidd twice. In one show he was wearing a white silk blouson and at the solo the spotlight focussed on him alone and he slowly started to shake until he was “shaking all over”. A standout moment in a standout number.

  11. 11
    Adrian on 11 Sep 2007 #

    That the drum solo is a piece of extending filler was stated in the Kidd “Jukebox Heroes” series episode – I didn’t remember hearing it before then and as it only added around three seconds seemed a strange way of filling. It actually works though, as a juxtaposition between the empassioned delivery of “Shakin’ All Over” and Joe Moretti’s classic guitar solo rather than one leading straight into the other.

    Another way of extending the song would have been to repeat the riff twice as if going for a third verse, then beating the drum solo as the last note died away, then the solo itself. The Swinging Blue Jeans faster and more energetic rendition uses a vaguely similar method which on its own adds around 9 seconds – Had Kidd and co attempted this, adding Clems drum solo on the end would have added around 10 seconds. But who cares with a one-take piece of magic that the Pirates were actually a little embarrassed about at the time, and thought was only destined for a flipside?

  12. 12
    Brandy on 26 Sep 2007 #

    This group, “Shaing All over” is awesome.
    I just discovered them, and I was very curious about them. So, I googled them- and much to my disbelief, could find next to nothing about them!
    What year did they begin? Are they still around? Just things like that.
    I saw that http://www.amazon.com had been selling a cd by them, but other then that, I could find nothing.
    Not even lyrics to their songs!

    Can anyone help me?

  13. 13
    Adrian on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Hi Brandy.
    The group is “Johnny Kidd and the Pirates”, a google will find bits littered all over the place – some of it borrowed from my own site on them (a work in progress). Click here – http://www.johnnykidd.co.uk – to get to it, including history, a Timeline, all songs recorded for EMI plus lyrics, related artists, etc. Various CDs and original LPs and 45’s turn up regularly on Ebay, even the odd sheet music as well.

    One of the major line-ups still exitst today part time as The Pirates featuring the awesome guitar and bass of Mick Green and Johnny Spence (who also does the vocals). Their site is also linked, catch them live if you can – it’ll be well worth it!


  14. 14
    Brandy on 26 Nov 2007 #

    Thanks Adrian!!

  15. 15
    rosie on 26 May 2008 #

    This is another one that (hardly surprisingly given that I’d just turned five when it got to number one) I’ve never not known and so I can’t say anything about how I reacted to hearing it for the first time. But looking back and guessing, it feels like one of the great epiphanies of popular music – something totally unlike anything that had gone before; a bit strange, a bit shivery up the backbone, a lot new and exciting. Surely a 9, possibly even a 10.

    Calling it ‘garage rock’ seems entirely anachronistic, like calling Measure for Measure ‘Ortonesque’. It’s superior pop, no more, no less, and it anticipates the bluesier British inflections of rock ‘n’ roll top come.

  16. 16
    Lena on 26 May 2008 #

    I wasn’t talking about this song in particular but the Canadian 60s cover version of it (’64-’65) – as garage rock.

  17. 17
    Joe Moretti the original on 8 Aug 2008 #

    Hullo folks from Joe Moretti, just a little note to say I’m still alive and kicking. It’s really very humbling to know that so many people dig “Shakin”. At my site you’ll find an article I’ve written about JK. All very tongue in cheek, juut poking fun at the business. Honestly, at the time of recording and even after release I had no idea it was going to be a hit. I still don’t understand it. It was really just a hell of a lot of fun, we played like that all the time. Go well……Joe Moretti.

  18. 18
    mike on 8 Aug 2008 #

    It’s the story that MUST be read: http://www.joemoretti.org/page8.htm

  19. 19
    Dave Jones on 1 Jun 2009 #

    Hi Everyone, i just bumped into this page and was humbled myself to read that Joe actually added his comments. What a man. I was around in the swinging sixties, and S.A.O was the first thing i sang on stage in our little band. We only had a couple of songs then but for a few magic fleeting seconds were just as good, (and then we woke up). I bought the record in 1960 and still have it. It has a blue centre and is a HMV single. I loved it then and never get bored with it.Great songs never die (only the singers). Someday some young darling will bring this out again and the atmosphere and angst of the original will be lost forever. Still thats progress. Keep Boppin, Dave Jones Gloucester UK

  20. 20
    Billy Smart on 14 Oct 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Sadly, none of Johnny Kidd’s listed UK TV appearances survive;

    READY STEADY GO!: with The Springfields, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates (1963)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Merseybeats, Mike Hurst, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Louise Cordet, The McKinleys, The Marauders (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Ronnie Hilton, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, George Chisholm and the Tradsters, Cleo Laine, Audrey Jeans, The Bird Twins, The Springfields (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Pat Boone, Max Bygraves, The Kaye Sisters, Joe Brown, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Micky Ashman’s Ragtime Jazz Band, Ted King (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Eden Kane, Dorothy Squires, Des O’Connor, Mike Cotton Jazzmen, Johnny Kidd, Ricky Stevens, Sylvia Sands, Carole Carr (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Joe Brown, Freddie and the Dreamers, Dion Di Muci, The Caravelles, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, The Viscounts, Timi Yuro, Janice Nicholls (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Craig Douglas, The Springfields, Mr Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, Rolf Harris, Dorothy Baker, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Sam Costa (Guest Dick Jockey), The Roulettes, Mark Wynter, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Sounds Inc, Julie Grant, Dave Nelson, Chick Graham And The Coasters (1964)

  21. 21
    PaulR on 3 Nov 2009 #

    The first time I was aware of “Shaking All Over” was in 1962 or 1963, when I was 9 or 10. During school holidays my Dad would take me out in his lorry to get me out from under my Mum’s feet. One day we stopped at a transport cafe, which was full of greasers. One of them put “Shaking All Over” on the jukebox. It blew me away! My Dad didn’t think much of it – he preferred Glenn Miller.

    Joe Moretti – absolute genius. Even my Dad admitted “That guy can play guitar”.

  22. 22
    tim davidge on 19 Nov 2009 #

    The harder edge of pop in 1960 – and none the worse for it. I was convinced on first hearing this, many years ago, that it dated from around 1963-1964. It then turned up on a compilation called ‘Alan Freeman’s History of Pop’, circa 1973, which put me right on the date. Slipstreaming the rock’n’roll era and anticipating that of the Stones , it’s just about the most modern thing on here so far, and Clem Cattini’s drums actually do the record a service in my opinion. An 8 from me.

  23. 23
    Paulito on 22 Mar 2010 #

    Mean, moody and magnificent, and easily the equal of any US rock’n’roll from the era. What’s astonishing is that it’s still such a thrill to listen to half a century later. And I don’t think the drum roll and guitar solo dissipate the song’s energy at all; perhaps they might have done if the playing wasn’t so superlative. Definitely a 9, perhaps a 10.

  24. 24
    wichita lineman on 13 Feb 2012 #

    RIP Joe Moretti, the original. Possibly my very favourite guitar solo.

    Apparently that’s him twanging between the brass parps on It’s Not Unusual, too.

  25. 25
    Erithian on 13 Feb 2012 #

    Sad to hear of the passing of a man who made such a deathless contribution to British pop. Obviously he and Whitney are linked by little more than the coincidence that we learn of their deaths within 48 hours of each other, but it’s tempting to draw the comparison that whereas Whitney’s life seems to have spiralled downhill to an unsatisfactory conclusion, Joe lived to see (relatively) old age, dying at 73, and the contentment of knowing the richness of his legacy. He made several visits to this site and seemed very happy with the appreciation he got from us young ‘uns. Thanks and goodbye Joe.

  26. 26
    doberman on 3 Mar 2012 #

    Saw JK and the Pirates at the Taunton Gaumont back in 1960, terrific stage prescence. The only other group I saw at the time to better them were the German group– The Rattles.

  27. 27
    enitharmon on 20 Apr 2012 #

    I can’t really think of a better place to say goodbye to Bert Weedon. He may never have had any big hits in his own right but his influence on the rise of the British guitar pop of which Shakin’ All Over is a pioneer and which would dominate the charts for years to come is measureless.

    He was a fixture on Crackerjack in the early 60s and probably late 50s, I think, so is one of my earliest musical memories. And yes, I did learn guitar from that book, before digressing without much success into classical guitar.

    RIP, Bert. You had a good life and helped to make the world a better place.

  28. 28
    wichita lineman on 20 Apr 2012 #

    I tried, but couldn’t play in a day. It hurt my fingers. Lucky for me that synths were affordable by the early eighties.

    Bert Weedon, by the time I was aware of him in the seventies, already seemed like a punchline. I suppose British rock guitar heroes would have been embarrassed to be reminded of their roots but, holy crap, I can’t imagine how many kids he inspired to try their hand. They aspired to be Hank, and Bert was their teacher.

    It’s probably mentioned on the Popular post, but Bert had the first crack at Apache. Jerry Lordan, its composer, thought his version was too slow and convinced the then-hitless Shadows to give it a go. RIP.

  29. 29
    Mark G on 20 Apr 2012 #

    #27 actually, he had a bunch of hits in the fifties to 1960, and a number one hit album in the seventies too.

  30. 30
    wichita lineman on 23 Apr 2012 #

    Yes he did, but pretty minor hits considering his influence. I was pleased to hear the biggest, Guitar Boogie Shuffle, played at Ewood Park at half time on Saturday.

    Marcello will be writing about that no.1 album soon, which I’m looking forward too.

  31. 31
    Erithian on 2 May 2012 #

    Speaking of legendary British musicians, if you’re quick you can hear Clem Cattini, who played on this number one and 44 others, talking to Radcliffe and Maconie on iPlayer for the next seven days (beginning at 1hr 37min). He tells how he botched up the drum break on “Shakin’ All Over”, which wasn’t meant to last two bars but they kept it in; working with “wossissname that did the Beatles – George Martin”; meeting “Ian Paice, a lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely man – and Ginger Baker – I’ll say no more”. And most recently he’s on Paul Weller’s new album too.

  32. 32
    hectorthebat on 26 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Colin Larkin (UK) – The All-Time Top 100 Singles (2000) 66
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (1976) 65
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – The Best Singles of 5 Decades (1997)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  33. 33
    lonepilgrim on 28 Jul 2014 #

    not only does this rock, it swings. There’s bounce and space to the music while JK croons and yelps like a man possessed. I’m pretty sure you could comprehend the intent behind this song whether you understood English or not

  34. 34
    enitharmon on 15 May 2015 #

    Here’s a conundrum – where to say goodbye to BB King. His influence is incalculable but nowhere in this list seems definitive. I was going to go for the one after this but then reflected that King’s stamp is all over this one.

  35. 35
    mapman132 on 15 May 2015 #

    I was wondering where the BB King tribute would go also. I saw him perform in 2008. Even though he was 83, it was an amazing show I was glad I got to see.

  36. 36
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 May 2015 #

    Well done, Rosie. As good enough a choice as any to honour the latest fallen giant. Any of the Stones’ would have done. But “Shaking All Over” was magnificent, as of course was BB King. RIP.

  37. 37
    Gareth Parker on 8 Jun 2021 #

    This has something about it this one. A 9/10 from me.

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