Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Author Susan Whitall to appear at the Southfield Public Library April 2nd










March 14, 2012


Community Outreach

For Release:
















 Michigan Notable Book Author @ the Southfield Public Library



Author Susan Whitall will speak about her book, "Fever : Little Willie John, a Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul" on Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in the Meeting Room of the Southfield Public Library.  Whitall will appear with Little Willie John's sons, Kevin John and Keith John, as they bring this 2012 Michigan Notable Book alive.  Books will be available for sale and signing.


"Fever" tells the dramatic, and ultimately tragic, story of Little Willie John.  With hits like the original, 1956 version of "Fever," "Need Your Love So Bad," "Talk to Me, Talk to Me," "Sleep" and "Leave My Kitten Alone," it appeared that Little Willie John had achieved R&B immortality in just a few short years of fame.


And yet, while he is still revered by musicians like Stevie Wonder and avid record collectors because he died young, his star has faded over the years. Born in Arkansas and raised from the age of three in Detroit, Willie was a polished, preternaturally gifted singer from his childhood days in the rough north end.


James Brown was his opening act at the famed Apollo Theater and had to pull every trick in the book to outshine the headliner, to no avail. Brown never forgot him. Willie was one of the great Marvin Gaye's three greatest vocal influences, and his inimitable voice haunts friends like B.B. King to this day.


In the 1950′s and early '60s, his voice was an early harbinger of what we now call soul. Elvis Presley recorded "She Thinks I Still Care" after being knocked out by Little Willie John's version, and the Beatles' take on his "Leave My Kitten Alone" became one of their most-bootlegged songs.


Southfield Public Library is located in the Southfield Municipal Complex, 26300 Evergreen Road.  Visit the Library's Home Page at

For further information, please call the Guest Services Desk at 248.796.4224.



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