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Jun 04

JOHNNY KIDD AND THE PIRATES – “Shaking All Over”

Popular36 comments • 8,811 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.

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Comments

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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