A vintage clip of The Everly Brothers performing their classic hit, “Wake Up Little Susie” is one of the latest gems to emerge from the vaults of The Ed Sullivan Show. You can check it out below.
The sibling duo are seen on the March 9, 1958 edition of the show and Ed Sullivan’s introduction is also included, in which he mentions that he had previously spoke of “the Southern imprint on singing” on the show, before introducing The Everly Brothers as “two youngsters from South Carolina” – although the boys spent most of their formative years in Shenandoah, Iowa and were based in Nashville, TN, from 1955 on.
The duo then perform an earthy, impassioned version of “Wake Up Little Susie”, the song which had rewarded them with their first US No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart in 1957, despite being banned for lyrics which – at that time – were considered suggestive.
Though written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, “Wake Up Little Susie” is now synonymous with The Everly Brothers. On release, the duo’s recording of the song also spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Country Chart and it also climbed to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. “Wake Up Little Susie” has since cemented its place in history, ranking at No, 318 on Rolling Stone’s list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time’.
“Wake Up Little Susie” has since been cited as an influential song by successive generations of musicians. Simon and Garfunkel, for example, have cited the Everly Brothers as strong influences on their own music. Their live version of “Wake Up Little Susie”, recorded in the duo’s concert in New York’s Central Park on September 19, 1981, reached No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982, and became their last Top 40 hit.
During Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Old Friends’ tour in 2003–2004, they also performed this song and others in a segment with The Everly Brothers, who performed as the support act on the tour.