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"Mess Around", written by Atlantic Records president and founder Ahmet Ertegün under the pseudonym of A. Nugetre,[1] or "Nuggy",[2] was one of Ray Charles’s first hits. Ertegün claims his inspiration for writing "Mess Around" was Pete Johnson.[citation needed] Earlier versions of the tune, a New Orleans boogie piano riff, can be heard throughout the early 1930s and 1940s the earliest of all being "Cow Cow Blues" from Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport in 1928. Dr John has spoken about the origin of this tune on his "Dr John Teaches New Orleans Piano" series of DVDs.

"Mess Around"
Single by Ray Charles
ReleasedJune 19, 1953
Format7" 45rpm
RecordedMay 17, 1953
GenreRhythm and blues, rock and roll
LabelAtlantic 999
Songwriter(s)Ahmet Ertegün
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand"
"Mess Around"
"It Should Have Been Me"

The lyrics urge listeners to dance ("mess around"), along with a few other key phrases, notably the "girl with the red dress on", harkening back to "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", the early boogie woogie classic. "Mess Around" became a big R&B charted hit when released as a single in early 1953.

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ Mess Around / Funny (But I Still Love You) by Ray Charles (Single, Rhythm & Blues): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list - Rate Your Music
  2. ^ "Photograph of record label". Retrieved 2014-05-22.

External linksEdit