Song written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell, who used the pseudonym John Davenport. It was originally recorded by American R&B singer Little Willie John for his debut album 'Fever' (1956), and released as a single in April of the same year. It has been covered by numerous artists from various musical genres, most notably by Peggy Lee whose rendition became the most widely known version of 'Fever' and the singer's signature song. Lee's version contained rewritten lyrics different from the original and an altered music arrangement. It became a top-five hit on the music charts in the UK and Australia in addition to entering the top ten in the US and the Netherlands. 'Fever' was nominated in three categories at the 1st Annual Grammy Awards in 1959, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Other notable cover versions of "Fever" include those by Elvis Presley, Madonna, The McCoys, La Lupe and Beyoncé. Madonna released it as a single from her fifth studio album 'Erotica' (1992) in March 1993. She promoted "Fever" by filming and releasing a music video directed by Stéphane Sednaoui and performing the song on several television shows as well as her 1993 The Girlie Show World Tour.
Kim Wilde performed the first verse of 'Fever' during her Another Step tour in 1986, most notably in a concert that was televised on BBC television on New Years Eve 1986, before singing her own song Love blonde.