"I Hear You Knocking
" (or "I Hear You Knockin'") is a rhythm and blues song written by Dave Bartholomew. New Orleans rhythm and blues singer Smiley Lewis first recorded the song in 1955. The lyrics tell of the return of a former lover who is rebuffed. Several earlier blues and R&B songs use lyrics similar to "I Hear You Knocking". James "Boodle It" Wiggins recorded an upbeat piano blues in 1928 titled "Keep A Knockin'
An You Can't Get In" which repeated the title in the lyrics. It was followed by songs that used similar phrases, including "You Can't Come In", by Bert M. Mays (1928) "Keep On Knocking", by Lil Johnson (1935); "Keep a Knocking", by Milton Brown & His Brownies (1936); and "Keep Knocking (But You Can't Come In)", by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (1938). None of these early singles listed a songwriter or composer. However, when popular jump blues bandleader Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five recorded the song as "Keep A-Knockin'" in 1939, the single's credits listed "Mays-Bradford" (Bert Mays and Perry Bradford). in 1957, Little Richard recorded it with "R. Penniman", Richard's legal name, listed as the writer, although Bert Mays and J. Mayo Williams were later credited as songwriters. Beginning with his signing by the Los Angeles–based Imperial Records in 1950, Smiley Lewis was one of the main proponents of the emerging New Orleans rhythm and blues style, along with Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Dave Bartholomew, and Professor Longhair.