rolling stones hi-heel sneakers 1964Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Hi-Heel Sneakers

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Put on your high-heel sneakers/ Wear your wig hat on your head….

Written by: Robert Higginbotham (a.k.a. Tommy Tucker)
Recorded: The Joe Loss Pop Show (BBC Light, UK radio), Apr. 10 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Wikipedia:
“Hi-Heel Sneakers” (often also spelled “High Heel Sneakers”) is a blues song written and recorded by Tommy Tucker in 1963. Blues writer Mary Katherine Aldin describes it as an uptempo twelve-bar blues, with “a spare, lilting musical framework”, and a strong vocal. The song’s rhythmic approach has also been compared to that of Jimmy Reed.

The song came out of Tucker’s association with producer Herb Abramson, who was a co-founder of Atlantic Records. Abramson operated A-1 Sound Studios in New York, where many popular R&B artists recorded; he leased Tucker’s recording to Checker Records, which released it as a single in 1964.

Although writers cite a 1963 recording date, there is conflicting information about the studio location. Aldrin puts it in Chicago, while the Blues Foundation locates it in New York City. The song’s distinctive guitar parts are provided by Dean Young. Writing in Encyclopedia of the Blues, Gene Tomko notes the similarity to the introduction and shuffle beat of the popular Jimmy Reed song “Big Boss Man”.

Abramson leased Tucker’s song to Checker Records and in 1964 it was released as a single, backed with “Don’t Want ‘Cha (Watcha Gonna Do)”. It entered Billboard Hot 100 on February 8, 1964, where the single reached number eleven during an 11-week stay (its R&B chart was suspended at the time). In the UK, it reached number 23.

In 2017, the song was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame as a “classic of blues recording”. In its induction statement, the Blues Foundation noted that “Hi-Heel Sneakers” was the “last blues record from the mighty Chess Records [Checker subsidiary] catalogue to hit No. 1 on the charts” and its popularity as a performance number.

Numerous musicians have recorded “Hi-Heel Sneakers” – Aldin notes the song “has the distinction of having been recorded by such unlikely musical bedfellows as Johnny Rivers, Elvis Presley, Ramsey Lewis, Jose Feliciano, Chuck Berry, the Chambers Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, David Cassidy and Boots Randolph, to name but a few.” Tomko explains its influence:

This now-familiar rhythmic chord progression of accenting the beat a la “Hi-Heel Sneakers” was in turn incorporated into many cover versions of “Big Boss Man,” and ironically influenced how the Jimmy Reed standard is typically played today.