“All Shook Up” was written by Otis Blackwell. You won’t believe how he came up with the idea. He was working at Shalimar Music in New York City when Al Stanton walked in. Stanton was Blackwell’s boss at the time. He was carrying a bottle of Pepsi and shaking it. That was the fad in the Fifties. Shake a bottle of soda to see the reaction. Stanton said to Blackwell, why don’t you write a song called “All Shook Up,” referring to the Pepsi bottle.
So, Blackwell did. This was not the first Elvis Presley song he had written. He wrote “Don’t Be Cruel” which came out in 1956. He also wrote some great music for other artists, including “Fever” for Little Willie John and “Great Ball of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis. Later, he would write “Return to Sender” which was another big hit for Elvis.
There is another story as to where the song came from. It seems Elvis had a nightmare one night and woke in the morning really shaken or in his words “all shook up.” He called Blackwell and told him he should use those words in a song, so Blackwell wrote the song from that. In my book on Elvis Presley, I say that I believe the second story because Elvis was given co-writer status on the song, something that was hardly ever done. You can decide for yourself which is true.
“All Shook Up” was Elvis’ first number one in England and he would go to have 16 more or 17 total. This is the same number of number ones the Beatles had in England. Here in America, the Beatles beat Elvis with 20 number ones compared to 18 for Elvis.
Also, “All Shook Up” was the number one song for the entire year of 1957. (The year-end countdown on Billboard magazine.) “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis was the number one song for the entire year of 1956. Elvis is the only performer in the history of rock and roll to have the yearly number one song two years in succession. That’s why he’s the king of rock and roll.
“All Shook Up” entered the chart on April 13, 1957 and stayed at number one for 9 weeks.
Here’s a live version of Elvis singing “All Shook Up.” I would guess this is in the late Sixties. It’s fun to watch the reaction of the girls around the stage as he gets close to them or attempts to flirt with them. I hope you enjoy.
Next: “Love Letters in the Sand” – Pat Boone