March 1, 1956

Barely eighteen, “Little Willie” John of Cullendale (Ouachita County) cut the first version of the song “Fever” in Cincinnati, Ohio. John was a powerful rhythm and blues vocalist and songwriter who recorded several hit songs. From Peggy Lee to Madonna, the song “Fever” lives on through countless versions, but John’s haunting, tortured vocals have yet to be replicated. He left a brief but profound musical legacy.

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