"Work With Me, Annie
" is a 12-bar blues
with words and music by Hank Ballard
. It was recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters
(formerly The Royals
) in Cincinnati
on the Federal Records
label on January 14, 1954, and released the following month. The FCC
immediately opposed it due to its overtly sexual lyrics, lyrics that had crossed over and were now being listened to by a white teenage audience. Because the record was in such demand and received so much publicity, attempts to restrict it failed and the record shot to number one on the R&B charts
and remained there for seven weeks.
This was the first of the "Annie" records and sold a million copies. So did the answer songs "Annie Had A Baby" and "Annies's Aunt Fanny". They all were banned for radio play by the FCC. The success of these recordings spurred the practice of recording double entendre records and answer songs. Another answer, "The Wallflower", by Etta James, popularly known as "Roll with Me Henry", was reworded by Georgia Gibbs as "Dance With Me Henry" for Top 40 consumption. It had the same melody as "Work With Me Annie". The melody was recycled again by the Midnighters for the song "Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)".
The song " Work With Me, Annie" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list..
had been a fan of "Sixty Minute Man
" recorded by The Dominoes
, a song so explicitly dirty that only an rhythm and blues
label would take it. When he got the chance he wrote his own bawdy tune. With its strong melody
and distinctive rhythm
, the song's structure anticipated the style of rock and roll
and was flexible enough that later it could be used with entirely different words.
The "Annie" lyrics were extremely sexually explicit for the period
- "Annie, please don't cheat. Give me all my meat."
And the punchline:
- "Let's get it while the getting is good."
Hank Ballard's baritone and excited squeals backed by the group's 'ah-oom' were accompanied by a boogie piano, a driving electric guitar and a booming electric bass. "Work With Me, Annie" defined what was to become Rock'n'Roll..
All of these same elements- driving rhythm guitar, booming bass,
boogie piano- plus prominent saxophone and fervent drums- were present in
Ike Turner's 1951 classic, "Rocket 88", which preceded "Work with Me Annie" by almost 3 years.