“My mother told me, if you call yourself ‘Little’ Stevie Wonder you’d better be as good as Little Willie John.” – Stevie Wonder
“Little Willie John was a soul singer before anyone thought to call it that.” – James Brown
On Tues., July 12th at 7pm, Book Beat will host an event with author and Detroit News columnist Susan Whitall along with Kevin and Keith John (children of Little Willie John) in memory and celebration of one of Detroit’s greatest unsung musical heroes, Little Willie John, creator of such timeless classics as “Fever,” “Need Your Love So Bad,” and “Grits ain’t Groceries.” One of the first singers to successfully meld gospel with rhythm and blues into what eventually became known as soul music, Willie was primed to become a breakout pop star when a tragic incident led to his imprisonment and suspicious death at the age of 30.
“Fever: Little Willie John’s Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul” is the first authorized biography to consider the life of the influential singer and the circumstances surrounding his untimely death. Author Susan Whitall will be joined by John’s two sons, Keith and Kevin John, for a rare presentation in memory of this brilliant, and electrifying singer.
Link to Detroit News article about Willie’s life and career here
Excerpt from “Fever” describing Willie on stage here
Our next door neighbor Street Corner Music will be stocking some of Little Willie John’s music. Please don’t miss this exciting presentation!