From an October 28, 1957 interview at the Pan Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles, California:
Elvis, do you read music?
No. And I can't play the guitar, either.
What do you do with it if you don't play it?
Elvis (laughing) I use it as a brace.
Well, your name is listed on the credits of several hit tunes as the author.
How do you write music if you don't read it?
It's all a big hoax, honey. I never wrote a song in my life. I get one-third of the credit for recording it. It makes me look smarter than I am. I've never even had an idea for a song. Just once, maybe.
I went to bed one night, had quite a dream, and woke up all shook up. I phoned a pal and told him about it. By morning, he had a new song, 'All Shook Up'.
All Shook Up was written by Otis Blackwell, a Brooklyn-born pianist and R&B-musician. Elvis already recorded his "Don't Be Cruel" and "Paralyzed".
In contrast with Elvis' version of the song's genesis:
As Blackwell later recalled in countless interviews, "All Shook Up" began as a challenge. Blackwell often joked to colleagues he could write a pop song on any theme or around any phrase. "Great Balls of Fire" is an example of a hit Blackwell wrote on such a dare. In the autumn of 1956, one Blackwell's bosses at his publishing offices dropped an unopened bottle of Pepsi on the ground. When he removed the cap, the soda exploded all over his white shirt. In frustration, Blackwell's boss slammed the half-emptied Pepsi bottle on Blackwell's desk. "There," he said, tersely. "Write a song about that."
Blackwell studied the bottle closely for about a couple of seconds before finally shaking it again. Legend (corroborated by Blackwell, one assumes) says he wrote the lyrics to "All Shook Up" before the bubbles had completely settled back into the beverage.
Whatever the story, it's a fact that New York singer David Hill was the first to record the song. The recording was made on November 7, 1956 and originally released on Aladdin 3359 as "I'm All Shook Up."
David Hill's real name was David Hess, though he used other pseudonyms, including David Dante. He wrote a few songs recorded by Elvis, including "I Got Stung" and "Sand Castles."
In the jacket liner notes of Elvis' Golden Records (1958) Anne Fulchino from RCA wrote:
Elvis recorded his version on January 12, 1957 (Saturday) at Radio Recorders Studio 1 - Hollywood, California. He sings harmony with Gordon Stoker. Take 10 became the Master take.
While sipping coffee, Steve Sholes pulled out a demonstration record of "Don't Be Cruel" and told Elvis it was a new song written by Otis Blackwell, whom Elvis had long admired as a rhythm and blues artist.
It took just a few bars to convince Presley that it was a perfect song for him, and he decided to cut it right away. Presley learned the song within minutes—he has an inherent musical sense—and in short order a great master was put on tape.
It isn't often that the title of a song will create a whole new expression in Americana. "All Shook Up" did exactly that. Youngsters and adults alike have made the phrase a common part of everyday usage.
Here is Rocky Rockwell singing All Shook Up in The Lawrence Welk Show, 1957:
The background to the song itself is a rather interesting one. Since the huge success of "Don't Be Cruel", Elvis had been anxious to record another song from the pen of Otis Blackwell. Eventually, Blackwell came around with "All Shook Up (first recorded by David Hill on Aladdin) ." Presley wasn't completely satisfied with the song, and with Blackwell's consent re-wrote part of the lyrics. Thus, as co-writer as well as artist, Presley produced his ninth consecutive gold record, his first in the year 1957.
Guitar: Elvis Presley
Guitar: Scotty Moore
Bass: Bill Black
Drums: D.J. Fontana
Piano: Hoyt Hawkins
The Jordanaires: Gordon Stoker; Neal Matthews; Hoyt Hawkins; Hugh Jarrett
Source "Elvis The Man & His Music # 71":
Jan-Erik Kjesth was told by Gordon Stoker himself he did not play piano on All Shook Up and when Hoyt Hawkins was suggested Gordon said "He may have played piano on All Shook Up because that was me singing the duet with Elvis. I was singing directly across the mike, I was just on the other side of the mike from him".
As for Dudley Brooks comments about playing on the track, and that it was tried out more than one attempt, it's possible, as was the case of One Night Of Sin and One Night.
It was Elvis' first #1 in the UK.
Blackwell became one of Elvis's favorite writers. Associates close to the pair later noted how Elvis even began to pattern some of his newly-acquired city boy languor -- or what would become known as Elvis's cool -- on Blackwell. They never met.
Just a few (out of thousand) other songs Blackwell wrote:
- "All Shook Up" (Elvis Presley)
- "Don't Be Cruel" (Elvis Presley); inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002
- "Fever" as "John Davenport" with Eddie Cooley (Peggy Lee inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998)
- "Great Balls of Fire" (Jerry Lee Lewis); inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998
- "Breathless" (Jerry Lee Lewis and X)
- "Hey Little Girl" (Dee Clark)
- "Handy Man" (Jimmy Jones, Del Shannon, James Taylor)
- "Return to Sender" (Elvis Presley)
Some other versions: