Friday, May 07, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Smiley Lewis
Song:I Hear You Knocking
Album:The Best Of Smiley Lewis: I Hear You Knocking
Legendary New Orleans music producer Dave Bartholomew used to say that Smiley Lewis was the unluckiest man in New Orleans because his records never sold as well as they should due to circumstances beyond his control. I Hear You Knocking was his biggest hit and signature song in 1955. He was born Overton Amos Lemons July 5, 1913 in DeQuincey, LA. near Lake Charles. As a teen, he hopped a train to New Orleans and started playing clubs with legendary pianist Tuts Washington. He was billed as Smiling Lewis because of his lack of front teeth. He worked manual labour during the day and clubs at night until he recorded his first album Here Comes Smiley in 1947 for Deluxe Records. When Dave Bartholomew began his production career with Imperial Records in 1950, he signed Lewis and Lewis had his first national hit with Bells Are Ringing in 1952. I Hear You Knocking reached #2 on the R & B Singles chart in 1955. Of course Bartholomew wrote the song and the legendary Huey "Piano" Smith played piano. But as tended to happen in those days, the cover version by Gale Storm was a much bigger hit and reached #2 on the Billboard singles chart. British rocker Dave Edmunds had a top five hit with I Hear You Knocking in 1970 and the song is considered a rock standard today. Soon after Fats Domino became a much bigger star than Lewis with a very similar performing style and Lewis left Imperial in 1957. You can get all his hits on this Collectables comp. Smiley Lewis recorded for Okeh and Dot in the 60s but then was diagnosed with cancer and died on Oct. 7, 1966 at age 53. So you can see why Smiley Lewis was considered to be very unlucky. Here's a video of I Hear You Knocking by Smiley Lewis.