Background Info: Sittin' On Top Of The World back to "Sittin' On Top Of The World" Cover Page



Sittin' On Top Of The World

(Background Info)

The Mississippi Sheiks (Walter Jacobs and Lonnie Carter) were the first to record "Sittin' On Top Of The World" (1930) [1]. Several sources, including the liner notes of The Roots of Robert Johnson, and Paul Williams' Watching the River Flow, indicate that they wrote it as well [2,3,4]. (It is often difficult to trace songs that have been covered over and over again to their original composers.) Peter Stone Brown offers the following:

This is an old blues song. Walter Jacobs didn't write it, though he may have copywritten it. Howling Wolf also recorded it, and his recording credits himself (Chester Burnett). Doc Watson also recorded it.

From the liner notes of The Roots of Robert Johnson:
...this best-selling nine bar ditty set in the key of G, was the basis of Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen." It's melody shows strong white influence, using six degrees of the major diatonic scale, along with minor thirds. [4]

It was sung by many artists, including the Grateful Dead (it's on their first album, Grateful Dead), Howlin Wolf, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, The Cream, Carl Perkins, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, Shelton Brothers (aka the Sunshine Boys), Big Joe Williams, and Johnny Shines. [1,2,5]


[1] contributed by Giulio Molfese
[2] contributed by David Smith
[3] contributed by Dino Martino
[4] contributed by Stephen Bishop
[5] contributed by David Dodd