THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER
696-Bob & Earl-Harlem Shuffle.
1963-It did not chart until reissued in 1969, when reaching Number 7.
Best Bit-At 0.01 ‘JUMP!’
There have been two incarnations of the duo known as Bob & Earl. The original duo who were active between 1957-1962 were Bobby Byrd (1930-1990,) and Earl Nelson (1928-2008) who had both been members of the successful ‘Doo-Wop’ group ‘The Hollywood Flames. Bobby Byrd also had a solo career, which ran parallel with the duo, scoring a Billboard Number 2 single in 1958 with ‘Rockin’ Robin,’ using the stage name Bobby Day. In 1962 Earl Nelson teamed up with a second Bob, this one was Bob Relf (1937-2007,) and it was this duo who recorded the original version of ‘Harlem Shuffle.’ The Harlem Shuffle is a dance that originated in the Harlem section of New York City in the 1950’s. Bob Relf is a very well known name in ‘Northern Soul’ circles, having recorded the popular ‘Blowing My Mind To Pieces.’Earl Nelson recorded under many different names including ‘Jackie Lee,’ under which he scored a Billboard Number 14 single in 1965 with ‘The Duck.’
In 1986 The Rolling Stones covered ‘Harlem Shuffle’ with Bobby Womack on backing vocals for their 18th British studio Album ‘Dirty Work.’ The song had always been a particular favourite of Keith Richards, and suited the vocal style of Mick Jagger perfectly, the Stones version peaked at Number 5 on Billboard. George Harrison has stated that the Bob & Earl version, was his favourite song of all time.
‘You scratch just like a monkey, yeah ya do, real cool. You slide it to the limbo yeah,how low can you go?’