Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping Piano
"LITTLE QUEENIE" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Chuck Berry
Publisher: - Arc Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U
376 - Master
Recorded: - Probably May 28, 1959
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 15, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single SUN 330-A mono
LITTLE QUEENIE / I COULD NEVER BE ASHAMED OF YOU
- 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804 DI-1-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Leo Lodner - Bass
There were some monumental battles of ego
whenever Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry appeared on the same bill during the 1950s. Their nightly dispute usually centered on who was the "real" headliner and who
would get to close the show. On those nights when the nod went to Chuck, Jerry Lee would do his damndest to wear
out the audience before turning them over.
Chuck Berry's version of "Little Queenie"" had just risen to its rather lowly peak of 80 when Jerry Lee scheduled a session especially to record it. A few weeks
earlier, Jerry's wife Myra, had written to the fan club secretary, Kay Martin, asking her to find a copy of Chuck's record for Jerry's mother, Mamie. "I suppose you
know", Myra wrote, "that next to Jerry, Chuck Berry is her very favorite". On May 25, three days before Jerry's
session, Myra wrote back to Kay, Thanks loads for "Little Queenie". Mrs Lewis is just mad about Chuck Berry... (but) ever since he tried to beat up Jerry I haven't liked him a bit.
If I'm not mistaken, Jerry wrapped a chair around his head... Don't get me wrong, I think Chuck is a very talented Negro. Have you ever seen him put on a live show? That is one Negro that can flat put on a show!. Apparently, "Little Queenie" was heard so often around the Lewis household
that Jerry decided to record it so that his mother would play something by a very talented white boy.
Egotism is one thing, but commercial exigencies are another, and its hard to fathom the reason for releasing a record that had
already failed within recent weeks. One can only assume that if it had succeeded it would have been a big metaphorical finger in the face of a certain very talented negro. And if there had been any justice, it would have succeeded. Jerry hits a fine groove,
and resurrects the voice-over narrative technique ("Meanwhile, I's still thinkin'") he had used to great effect on "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". And how ironic that girls who weren't "a minute over seventeen" would prove the undoing of both Jerry and Chuck.