Smiley Lewis (Born Overton Lemons)
July 5, 1913 – October 7, 1966
Smiley Lewis was a New Orleans R&B artist who got his start in the clubs throughout the French Quarter during the late ’30s. He released his first album, Here Comes Smiley Lewis on DeLuxe Records in 1947. In 1950, producer Dave Bartholomew recorded Lewis for Imperial Records. The sessions resulted in his biggest hits, “Tee Nah Nah,” “The Bells Are Ringing,” and the first recorded version of the R&B standard, “I Hear You Knocking” which would later be recorded by the likes of Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Edmunds, and Canned Heat. His “Blue Monday” became a hit for Domino while his “One Nigh,t” as covered by Elvis Presley, reached #4 on the Billboard singles chart in 1958. Smiley Lewis was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1965 and died from it on October 7, 1966. He was 53 years old.