Larry Williams (1935-1980) was a popular rock & roll singer who in the 1950s had such hits as “Dizzy, Miss Lizzy,” “Bony Maroney,” “Short Fat Fannie,” “Bad Boy,” and “She Said Yeah.”
Born in New Orleans, Williams learned piano and developed his singing style. After his family moved to Oakland, he became a member of the Lemon Drops, a local R&B group. In 1954 when he was 19, Williams visited New Orleans and met Lloyd Price, who was recording for the Specialty label. Price hired him as his valet, introduced him to the label’s producer Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, and, after an audition, he was signed to a record contract.
Larry Williams’s first recording, “Just Because,” was a hit and his career took off for a time. Groomed as Specialty’s replacement for the recently departed Little Richard, Williams recorded a wide variety of rock ’n’ roll and ballads for Specialty during 1957-1959.
Bad Boy contains the best of Larry Williams during his Specialty period, including all of his hits and other jumping material. Here’s Larry Williams repeats a couple of the best-sellers but also contains additional songs from the era.
Larry Williams’s popularity had begun to slip before he was arrested in 1959 for selling narcotics. Dropped by Specialty, he recorded for Chess and other labels with only mixed success. He worked a bit with Johnny “Guitar” Watson in the mid-1960s and had solid selling-records with “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Nobody.” After largely dropping out of music for a decade, Larry Williams was beginning to make a comeback when he died of a gunshot wound in 1980 under mysterious circumstances.