a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

High-Heel Sneakers

Music/Lyrics: Robert Higginbotham

Vocals: Merl Saunders

Original Artist: Tommy Tucker

Debut: 1994-04-23

Historian: Ellis Godard

The first set of 4/23/94 included, in typical Phish fashion, blues, rock, pop, country, jazz, Latin rhythms, and storytelling – and closed with “High-Heel Sneakers,” originally released as a 1950s rockabilly classic, a 12-bar blues song, though usually (as here) performed as R&B. Though the song is universally credited as a 1964 release by Tommy Tucker (born  Robert Higginbotham), some lists of the more than 200 artists who've covered it include dates as many as four years earlier.

Those artists have ranged from Pinetop Perkins (c. 1960), Jerry Lee Lewis (c. 1963), Don and Alleyne Cole (1964), Stevie Wonder (1965), the Grateful Dead (1966), Eddie Floyd (1967), Big Brother (1967), Jose Feliciano (1968), and Elvis (1968, as the b-side to “Guitar Man”); to the Legendary Blues Band (1983), Ramsey Lewis (1984), Pete York & Superblues (c. 1990), Jeff Beck (1993), Dix Bruce (1997), and Keller Williams (1998).

Phish’s single performance to date on 4/23/94 featured keys king Merl Saunders, who also played on the previous tune (“Caravan”), giving two back-to-back keyboard duets. 

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