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Larry Williams

A rough, rowdy rock & roll singer, Larry Williams had several hits in the late '50s, several of which -- "Bony Maroney," "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy," "Short Fat Fannie," "Bad Boy," "She Said Yeah" -- became genuine rock & roll classics and were recorded by British Invasion groups; John Lennon, in particular, was a fan of Williams, recording several of his songs over the course of his career.

As a child in New Orleans, Williams learned how to play piano. When he was a teenager, he and his family moved to Oakland, CA, where he joined a local R&B group called the Lemon Drops. In 1954, when he was 19 years old, Williams went back to New Orleans for a visit. During his trip, he met Lloyd Price, who was recording for Specialty Records. Price hired the teenager as his valet and introduced him to Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, the label's house producer. Soon, the label's owner, Art Rupe, signed Williams to a solo recording contract.

Just after Specialty signed Larry Williams, Specialty lost Little Richard, who had been their biggest star and guaranteed hitmaker. Little Richard decided to abandon rock & roll for the ministry shortly after Williams cut his first single, a cover of Price's "Just Because," with Richard's backing band; "Just Because" peaked at number 11 on the R&B charts in the spring of 1957. After Richard left the label, the label put all of its energy into making Williams a star, giving him an image makeover and a set of material -- ranging from hard R&B and rock & roll to ballads -- that was quite similar to Richard's hits.

Williams' first post-Little Richard single was the raucous "Short Fat Fannie," which shot to number one on the R&B charts and number five on the pop charts in the summer of 1957. It was followed in the fall by "Bony Maronie," which hit number four on the R&B charts and number 14 on the pop charts. Williams wasn't able to maintain that momentum, however. "You Bug Me, Baby" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," his next two singles, missed the R&B charts but became minor pop hits in late 1957 and early 1958. Despite the relative failure of these singles, Williams' records became popular import items in Britain; the Beatles would cover both sides of the "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" single (the B-side was "Slow Down") in the mid-'60s. However, Williams' commercial fortunes in America continued to decline, despite Specialty's release of a constant stream of singles and one full-length album.

In 1959, Williams was arrested for selling narcotics, which caused Specialty to drop him from the record label. During the '60s, he drifted through a number of labels in the early '60s, recording songs for Chess, Mercury, Island, and Decca. By the mid-'60s, he had hooked up Johnny "Guitar" Watson and the duo cut several sides for OKeh Records in the mid- and late '60s, including the Top 40 R&B hits "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (spring 1967) and "Nobody," which was recorded with Kaleidoscope (early 1968). Williams also became a house producer for OKeh Records in 1966, although very few of his productions became hits.

Between 1968 and and 1978, Williams was inactive, recording nothing and performing very little. In 1978, he released a funk album, That's Larry Williams, for Fantasy Records that sold poorly and received bad reviews. In 1980, Williams was found dead in his Los Angeles home; he died of a gunshot wound to his head. The medical examiners called the death a suicide, but rumors persisted for years after his death that he was murdered because of his involvement in drugs, crime and -- allegedly -- prostitution.

A compilation of Williams' biggest hits and best-known songs entitled Bad Boy was released on Specialty Records in 1989. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Specialty Profiles: Percy Mayfield

Disc 1

1. Please Send Me Someone To Love

2. Strange Things Happening

3. Lost Love (Baby, Please)

4. What A Fool I Was

5. Cry Baby

6. Prayin' For Your Return

7. Louisiana

8. The Big Question

9. The River's Invitation

10. Loose Lips

11. Sugar Mama-Peachy Papa

12. Memory Pain

13. Nightless Lover

14. Hit The Road, Jack

Disc 2

1. R.M. Blues

2. Pink Champagne

3. Please Send Me Someone To Love

4. Lawdy Miss Clawdy

5. Dream Girl

6. Things That I Used To Do

7. Long Tall Sally

8. I'll Come Running Back To You

9. Leavin' It All Up To You

10. Dizzy, Miss Lizzy

x

Track List: Specialty Profiles: Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers

Disc 1

1. I'll Come Running Back To You

2. Forever

3. Jesus, I'll Never Forget

4. Peace In The Valley

5. Just Another Day

6. Touch The Hem Of His Garment

7. Lovable

8. Farther Along

9. Jesus Gave Me Water

10. The Last Mile Of The Way

11. That's All I Need To Know

12. Any Day Now

13. I Don't Want To Cry

Disc 2

1. R.M. Blues

3. Please Send Me Someone To Love

4. Lawdy Miss Clawdy

5. Dream Girl

6. Things That I Used To Do

7. Long Tall Sally

8. I'll Come Running Back To You

9. Leavin' It All Up To You

10. Dizzy, Miss Lizzy

x

Track List: 100 Rock & Roll Hits

Disc 1

2. Tossin' And Turnin'

3. Wake Up Little Susie

5. Runaway

6. A Teenager In Love

8. Raunchy

9. Dede Dinah

10. Runaround Sue

11. Over And Over

12. Pretend

13. High School Confidential

14. It's In His Kiss

15. At My Front Door

16. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

17. What'd I Say

18. I Wonder Why

19. Red River Rock

20. Baby Talk

21. Let's Dance

23. Tequila

24. Bye Bye Love

25. Twist And Shout

26. Pretty Little Angel Eyes

27. Tallahassee Lassie

28. Wild Weekend

29. Keep Searching

30. Hey Little Girl

32. New Orleans

33. Blue Suede Shoes

34. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

35. Bird Dog

36. Little Town Flirt

37. Too Much Tequila

38. Lonely Teardrops

39. Ginger Bread

40. Red Hot

41. La Bamba

42. Rockin Robin

43. Tiger

45. Problems

46. Hound Dog Man

47. Mona Lisa

48. The Wanderer

49. Lonely Weekends

50. Boppin' The Blues

Disc 2

1. Denise

2. Good Golly Miss Molly

3. Bony Moronie

5. The Hippy Hippy Shake

8. Willie And The Hand Jive

9. I'm In The Love Again

10. Susie Darlin

11. That'll Be The Day

12. A White Sport Coat

13. On The Rebound

14. Singing The Blues

15. At The Hop

16. The Green Door

17. Witch Doctor

18. I Really Love You

19. Foot Stomping

20. Lover Please

21. Dear One

22. Patches

24. Sugar Shack

26. Leroy

27. Don't Knock The Rock

29. Rock A Billy Boogie

30. Personality

31. Tonight I Fell In Love

32. Tender, Love And Care

36. Geraldine

37. Rock Around The Clock

38. Hot Rock

39. Surfin' Bird

40. Turn Me Loose

41. Little Bitty Pretty One

42. Palisades Park

43. Lovin' Up Storm

44. Lonesome Train

46. I'm Hurting

47. I Fought The Law

48. Save My Soul

49. R.O.C.K.

50. The Train Kept A Rollin

x

Track List: Black & Proud Vol.2

1. I'm Talkin' Bout Freedom

2. Who'll Pay Reparations On My Soul?

3. Malcolm X

6. Walk Tall (Live)

8. Brown Baby

12. Respect Yourself

15. I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)

16. Lady Day And John Coltrane

x

Track List: Dusty Vintage Records, Vol. 1

Disc 1

7. Down On My Knees

12. You Got To Be A Man

13. I Won't Be Back

15. Let's Try It Over

16. I'm Particular

18. Magic Moon (Clair De Lune)

19. I Left There Crying

25. Say You'll Be Mine

27. Trapped

32. No Baby

40. Don't Hustle Me

41. I'm Losing You

43. Will You Love Me Tomorrow

44. Tell Her

47. Go On And Cry

49. Too Soon To Know

50. Homework

Disc 2

1. Thanks A Lot

2. How To Be A Fool (In Six Easy Lessons)

8. I Should Have Kissed Her More

10. Let's Move & Groove Together

11. The Lovin' Touch

13. Please Love Me

14. Everyday I Wonder

15. Papa

19. Love Is Amazing

20. Special Agent 34-24-38

21. Talk Don't Bother Me

26. Wonderful Guy

27. Anybody (But You)

28. That's What I Get For Loving You

37. You Didn't Know Then

38. I Found My Place

39. Everything To Me

41. Loving Fool

47. It's A Wonderful Night

50. I Don't Want Nobody

x

Track List: Specialty Profiles: Larry Williams

Disc 1

1. Bony Moronie

2. Just Because

3. Short Fat Fannie

4. High School Dance

5. You Bug Me Baby

6. Dizzy, Miss Lizzy

7. Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu

8. Hootchy-Koo

9. Bad Boy

10. Slow Down

11. Little School Girl

12. Ting-A-Ling

13. Let Me Tell You, Baby

14. She Said Yeah

Disc 2

1. R.M. Blues

3. Please Send Me Someone To Love

4. Lawdy Miss Clawdy

5. Dream Girl

6. Things That I Used To Do

8. I'll Come Running Back To You

9. Leavin' It All Up To You

10. Dizzy, Miss Lizzy

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Remembering my cousins having their house partys and playing these awesome songs (we weren't invited cuz we were to young) :(
Report as inappropriate
Love the song high school is also fabulous
Report as inappropriate
Great song.
Report as inappropriate
Larry Williams didn't get the recognition he deserved - he had a lot of good songs
Report as inappropriate
Lloyd Price does a nice job on Just Because too
Report as inappropriate
She Say Yeah is a GREAT SONG by Larry Wiiams!!!
Report as inappropriate
Short Fat Fannie...a real rocker back in the day { still is }
Report as inappropriate
a good rendition of Huey Smith's classic Rockin' Pneumonia
Report as inappropriate
Poor Man'Little Richard. Of course that is just my opinion. However Dizzy Miss Lizzy is the "Bomb",again just my opinion.
Report as inappropriate
We are waking to who we are...good song
Report as inappropriate
vernsnith200 4
would like Bony Moronie
and peaches and cream etc.
Report as inappropriate
husq21
Covered by more 60s acts than perhaps anyone else. The Rascals' version of Williams' "Slow Down" (a B side no less!) is one of the great rockers of the Boomer generation.
Report as inappropriate
I too love short fat fanny. Merry Xmas fanny! ( I would like to know how this went over in England - we all know what female body part the English call the fanny, right?).

Report as inappropriate
Great. Underrated and overlooked.
Report as inappropriate
He may not be Little Richard, but Larry had so much talent, it's a shame he received so little recognition. His style is much like Little Richard; he just needed something like "Good Golly Miss Molly" to push him into the limelight.
Report as inappropriate
magruver
You just gotta love this guy, Love short fat fanny,,,,,,, , Oh so GREAT
Report as inappropriate
meg49979
i love this artist he rocks!!
Report as inappropriate
johnnylee194 5
Wheres the 'Bio' ????
Report as inappropriate
viatical57-p a n
Goto Answers.com for about anything. Check this out for Larry Williams:
http://www.a n s w e r s . c o m / t o p i c / l a r r y - w i l l i a m s ? m e t h o d = 2 6 & i n i t i a t o r = C A N S
Report as inappropriate
no bio? that ain't right, go dizzy
Report as inappropriate
Larry Williams is one of those rare 50's singers that gets even better as the years pass

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