Willie Dixon Wasn’t Dead in 1990

Book: Skagboys

Author: Irvine Welsh

Music: It’s All Over Me

Artist: Otis Blackwell

Skagboys is Irvine Welsh’s prequel to Trainspotting. There are a lot of musical references in it so you’ll be joining me on this journey for a few weeks.

More people know Otis Blackwell’s songs than know Otis Blackwell, I suspect. The last several posts were related to Elvis Presley. Otis Blackwell was responsible for “All Shook Up,” “Return to Sender,” and “Don’t be Cruel.” He was a black man writing hit songs for white rock and roll singers. Willie Dixon was another songwriting overlord whose songs are more often associated with white artists than himself. One of the great thrills of my concert-going life was attending a tribute to John Lee Hooker in Madison Square Garden in October 1990. I honestly couldn’t believe it when Willie Dixon came out and sang his own “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” I thought he was dead. Bo Diddley played that night to as well as, obviously, John Lee Hooker. Others I recall are Ry Cooder, Johnny Winter, and Al Kooper. I remember it being a very long concert.

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