You Shook Me

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'You Shook Me' is a blues song composed by Willie Dixon with J. B. Lenoir. In 1962, it was originally recorded over an instrumental by Earl Hooker called 'Blue Guitar', with vocals added by Muddy Waters on 27 June and released as a single that year by Chess Records.[1]

Dixon had worked in partnership with Lenoir on the Chess and Checker Record releases during the period 1955-1958. Lenoir had written the lyrics but it was left unrecorded until offered by Leonard Chess to Waters, in a bid to rejuvenate his struggling chart career. 'Close to You' was his last charting single in 1958. The success of 'You Shook Me' resulted in Hooker being employed on Waters recording sessions by Chess, and Dixon being asked to contribute more of his material. Dixon also played upright bass on the Waters recording.

Led Zeppelin version

The tune was covered by a number of rock musicians, including Jeff Beck on his 1968 album Truth, and notably by English rock band Led Zeppelin on their eponymous 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin. John Paul Jones has sessioned on the Beck recording.

On the Led Zeppelin recording, Jones double tracked a Fender Rhodes piano and Hammond M-100 organ. The M-100 is featured on the 'You Shook Me' solo beginning at 2 minutes 7 seconds. The most interesting aspect of this track is the lack of a Leslie speaker; considered standard practice for Hammond recording, the Leslie speaker adds a spinning effect to the organ tone. Instead of a Leslie, Jones used the M-100's built-in Vibrato setting and, throughout the solo, he changes the Vibrato/Chorus rate and depth, which effectively creates a similar sound to the Leslie.

Page employed his 'backward echo' technique on the 'call-and-respond' segment between Robert Plant's vocals and Page's Telecaster guitar.[2] This recording process involved hearing the echo before the main sound instead of after it, achieved by turning the tape over and employing the echo on an unused track, then turning the tape back over again to get the echo preceding the signal. Page had initially conceived the technique when recording the 1967 single 'Ten Little Indians' with the Yardbirds.[3]

Jimmy Page utilises a metal slide on this recording and the song opens with a standard blues lick flourish. Possibly because the song so aptly showcased the abilities of all four band members, it was performed regularly throughout the early concerts. From 1973, the song however was discontinued from the band's live set list as they began to infuse more repertoire from subsequent releases into their on-stage performances. (In its totality the song was included until October 1969, and henceforth from 1973 it was seconded as a section of the 'Whole Lotta Love' medley).

Jimmy Page performed this song on his tour with the Black Crowes in 1999. A version of 'You Shook Me' recorded by Page and the Black Crowes can be located on the album Live at the Greek.

The AC/DC song title 'You Shook Me All Night Long' came from a line in the chorus. The song is mentioned in the 2008 Supernatural episode 'Sex and violence', where Dean Winchester is talking to Nick at a bar over Led Zeppelin titles.


  1. Danchin, Sebastian (2001). Earl Hooker: Blues Master. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 139. ISBN 978-1-57806-307-9. 
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 24. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Tolinski, Brad; Greg Di Bendetto (January 1998). "Light and Shade". Guitar World. ISSN 1045-6295.