This song was a huge hit when it was released by the Robins in 1954 so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that it was a big success for Wanda when she released her version seven years later in 1961. This song was written by the superstar songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. While they may not be household names today, those guys are also responsible for such classic tracks like “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton (or, more successfully, Elvis Presley), “Jackson” by Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, “Love Potion No. 9” by the Searchers, “Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King and many, many more.
Wanda’s career began in the 1950s when she would often share bills with a young Elvis Presley, whom she also reportedly dated. There were quite a few Elvis connections in those early days for Wanda. In fact, her first national hit, 1960’s “Let’s Have a Party,” which broke the Top 40, was a cover of an earlier Elvis hit. She went on to have a string of hit albums for Capitol Records in the early 1960s, headlining concerts all across the States and even in Japan where her single “Fujiyama Mama” ended up being an unexpected #1 hit single.
She remained fairly active up until the 1980s. After that her appearances became fewer and farther inbetween. She’s reached something of a cult status these days, mostly likely spurred on by her 2004 documentary The Nice Lady with the Nasty Voice.
Still kicking as hard as ever at age 73, Wanda’s latest album, The Party Ain’t Over, was released early this year. Produced by Jack White, the album features new renditions of classic standards as well as all new tracks, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s 2006 single “Thunder on the Mountain.”