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Twist and Shout

"Twist and Shout"
Single by The Top Notes
B-side "Always Late (Why Lead Me On)"
Released 1961
Format 7" single
Recorded Atlantic Studios, New York, February 23, 1961
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:05
Label Atlantic 45-2115
Writer(s) Bert Berns, Phil Medley
Producer(s) Phil Spector
The Top Notes singles chronology
"Hearts of Stone"
"Twist and Shout"
"Wait For Me Baby"

"Twist and Shout" is a 1961 song written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns (later credited as "Bert Russell"). The song was originally recorded by the Top Notes. It first became a chart hit as a cover single by the Isley Brothers in 1962. The song has since been covered by several artists, including the Beatles on their first album Please Please Me (1963), as well as The Tremeloes in 1962 and The Who in 1970 and 1984.


  • The Top Notes 1
  • The Isley Brothers' version 2
    • Personnel 2.1
  • The Beatles' version 3
    • 1986 recharting 3.1
    • 2010 UK chart entry 3.2
    • Personnel 3.3
  • The Who's version 4
    • Personnel 4.1
  • Brian Poole and the Tremeloes' version 5
  • Other cover versions 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

The Top Notes

In 1961, one year after Phil Spector became a staff producer at Atlantic Records, he was asked to produce a single by an up-and-coming vocal group, the Top Notes (sometimes "Topnotes"). This was before Spector perfected his "Wall of Sound" technique, and the recording, at the Atlantic Studios on February 23, 1961, arranged by Teddy Randazzo with musicians including saxophonist King Curtis, guitarist John Pizzarelli, and drummer Panama Francis, with backing vocals by The Cookies,[1] lacked much of the energy the Top Notes exhibited in their live performances.[2]

The Top Notes included singers Howard "Howie" Guyton (also known as Guy Howard), a cousin of Dave "Baby" Cortez; and Derek Martin, also known as Derek Ray.[3] Guyton provided the lead vocals on "Twist and Shout".[4] Guyton, Martin and Cortez had previously all been members of vocal groups The Pearls (also known as The Five Pearls) in their home city of Detroit, and then of The Sheiks in New York;[3] and Guyton and Martin later recorded as members of Jimmy Ricks & The Raves. Derek Martin later recorded a succession of singles, mostly on the Roulette label, in the 1960s and early 1970s, including a version of Otis Blackwell's "Daddy Rollin' Stone", before moving to live in France where he has continued to perform.[5][6][7] Guyton later sang in a touring version of The Platters, and died of a heart attack in 1977, aged 39, while touring in Argentina.[8][9]

Songwriter Bert Berns felt Spector had ruined the song, and went out to show Spector how it should be done.[10]

The Isley Brothers' version

"Twist and Shout"
Single by The Isley Brothers
B-side "Spanish Twist"
Released June 16, 1962
Format 7" single
Recorded New York, 1962
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:27
Label Wand 653
Writer(s) Phil Medley, Bert Russell
Producer(s) Bert Russell
The Isley Brothers singles chronology
(1962 reissue)
"Twist and Shout"
"Twistin' With Linda"

When the Isley Brothers decided to record the song in 1962, Bert Berns/Russell opted to produce, and thus demonstrate to Spector what he had intended to be the "sound" of the record.[10] The resulting recording captured the verve of an Isley Brothers performance, and became the trio's first record to reach a Top 20 position in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

The Isley Brothers' version, with Ronald Isley on lead vocals, was the first major hit recording of the song, peaking at No. 17 on the U.S. pop top 40 charts, and No. 2 on the US R&B charts. The song quickly became a frequently covered R&B tune in the early 1960s. According to Ronald, the song was supposed to be the B-side to the Burt Bacharach standard, "Make It Easy on Yourself", which had been a hit for Jerry Butler. When the Isleys recorded "Twist and Shout", the brothers did not think the song would do well, as they had not had a hit in the three years since "Shout" established them. To their surprise, the song became their first Top 40 hit on both the pop and R&B charts, and for a time established the group's reputation for producing fast-paced songs during their earlier career.


The Beatles' version

"Twist and Shout"
Song by the Beatles from the album Please Please Me
Released 22 March 1963
Recorded 11 February 1963, EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:32
Label Parlophone
Writer Phil Medley, Bert Russell
Producer George Martin
Please Please Me track listing
"Twist and Shout"
Single by The Beatles
from the album Introducing... The Beatles
B-side "There's a Place"
Released 2 March 1964
Genre Rock and roll
Writer(s) Phil Medley, Bert Russell
Producer(s) George Martin
The Beatles US singles chronology
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"Twist and Shout"
"Can't Buy Me Love"

"The Beatles Movie Medley"

"Twist and Shout"

"Baby it's You"

Released on cold, and was drinking milk and sucking on cough drops to soothe his throat. His coughing is audible on the album, as is the cold's effect on his voice. Even so, he produced a memorable vocal performance: a raucous, dynamic rocker. He later said his voice was not the same for a long time afterward, and that "every time [he] swallowed, it felt like sandpaper".[11]

A second take was attempted, but Lennon had nothing left and it was abandoned.[12] George Martin said, "I did try a second take ... but John's voice had gone."[13]

Released as a single in the US on March 2, 1964, with "There's a Place" as its B-side,[14] by Chicago-based Vee-Jay Records on the Tollie label, it reached number 2 on April 4, 1964, during the week that the top five places on the chart were all Beatles singles. (In the Cashbox singles chart for the same week, "Twist and Shout" was No. 1.) In the United States, "Twist and Shout" was the only million-selling Beatles single that was a cover record, and the only Beatles cover single to reach the Top 10 on a national record chart. The song failed to hit #1 because the Beatles had another song occupying the top spot, "Can't Buy Me Love".

In the UK, "Twist and Shout" was released by Parlophone on an EP with three other tracks, "Do You Want to Know a Secret", "A Taste of Honey", and "There's a Place", from the Please Please Me (1963) album. Both the EP and album reached No. 1 (see Twist and Shout (EP)). In Canada, it became the title track to the second album of Beatles material to be issued by Capitol Records of Canada, on February 3, 1964.

It is regarded as one of the finest examples of British rock and roll for its vocal performance.[15] The song was used as a rousing closing number on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in October 1963 and at The Royal Variety Show in November 1963, the former signalling the start of "Beatlemania"; the latter was included on the Anthology 1 compilation album in 1995. In addition, the group performed it on one of their Ed Sullivan Show appearances in February 1964.

The Beatles continued to play the song live until the end of their August 1965 tour of North America. Additionally, they recorded "Twist and Shout" on nine occasions for BBC television and radio broadcasts, the earliest of which was for the Talent Spot radio show on November 27, 1962. The intro sounds very similar to "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens, and the famous vocal buildup resembles that in "Do You Love Me" by The Contours.

1986 recharting

The song enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in 1986 after Matthew Broderick lip-synced to the Beatles' version of it in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Coincidentally, the Rodney Dangerfield film Back to School (released two days after Ferris) also featured the song, this one sung by Dangerfield himself and patterned after the Beatles' arrangement. The use in the two films help propel the single up the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at No. 23 late that summer, giving the group their second chart single of the 1980s (the other being "The Beatles Movie Medley" in 1982). The song's seven-week run in the U.S. Top 40 in 1986, combined with its original 16-week run in 1964, makes "Twist and Shout" the longest-running Top 40 hit for the Beatles, at 23 weeks. Its overall chart longevity, combined with its original four-week run at #2, statistically makes it the Beatles' second most successful single in the U.S. next to "Hey Jude".

2010 UK chart entry

In November 2010, 47 years after its recording, the Beatles' version of "Twist and Shout" made a debut on the UK Singles Chart. The highest charting Beatles track in the aftermath of their new availability on iTunes, it entered the charts at #48 in the first of a two-week run.


Engineered by Norman Smith[16]

The Who's version

"Twist & Shout"
Single by The Who
from the album The Isle of Wight Festival (1970), and Who's Last (1984) as Single
B-side "I Can't Explain"
Released 1970 and November 1984
Format 7"
Recorded December 17, 1982
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada
Genre Rock
Label MCA Records
Writer(s) Phil Medley and Bertrand Russell Berns
Producer(s) David "Cyrano" Langston
The Who singles chronology
"It's Hard"
"Twist and Shout (live)"
"Real Good Looking Boy"

English rock band the Who covered the song live during their career, with Roger Daltrey singing lead vocals on the first version which is on the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, and on their 1982 Farewell Tour,[17] with their bassist John Entwistle singing the lead vocals. The 1982 version can be heard on the live album Who's Last (recorded at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on December 17, 1982 and released in November 1984), as well as on the 1994 compilation Thirty Years of Maximum R&B (live at Shea Stadium, New York, 1982).


Brian Poole and the Tremeloes' version

In 1962 the Decca label signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, a British group from Dagenham, East London, in preference to the Beatles. Both groups auditioned on the same day, and it has become legend that the Beatles were rejected by the label. Ironically, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes had no chart success until the beat boom in British rock surfaced, following the success of the Beatles. This triggered the frenzied signing of most of the popular Liverpool rock groups of that period by the major record labels, and their distinctive "sound" became known as Merseybeat. Brian Poole and the Tremeloes imitated this style, and covered "Twist and Shout" four months after the Beatles had released their version, and achieved the number four position in the UK Singles Chart.[18]

Other cover versions

  • In 1963, Johnny O'Keefe covered the song, on the B-Side of his Single Twist it Up. It had reached 44 on the Australian Charts at the time.[19][20]
  • In 1964, The Rivieras covered the song for their debut album, Let's Have A Party.
  • In 1964, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their album The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits.[21]
  • In 1965, the Shangri-Las covered the song on the B-side to "Give Him a Great Big Kiss", reaching No. 18 in the US charts.
  • In 1967, the song was also covered by the Mamas & the Papas in the style of a ballad on their album Deliver.
  • In 1967, Cliff Richard covered the song for a film soundtrack.
  • Since 1973 Bruce Springsteen has played it live more than 350 times, usually at the end of his concerts.
  • In 1988, Salt-n-Pepa recorded a cover version on their album A Salt with a Deadly Pepa. It was released as a single in the UK, and reached No. 4.
  • In 1989, Alejandra Guzmán recorded a Spanish-language version of the song called “Twist y gritos” on her album Dame tu amor.
  • In 1993, Chaka Demus & Pliers recorded a reggae version featuring Jack Radics, which went to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1994.[18]
  • In 1997, in Kidsongs home videos, the kids sang it in the episode "I Can Dance".
  • In 1998, a cover version by Ike & Tina Turner was released on the album Absolutely The Best.
  • In children's television show A Little Curious (1998–2000), Mop and Mr. Shoe sang this song while Mop teaches Mr. String how to do the twist.
  • British pop-rock band McFly performed a cover of the song during a live session for The Sun.

See also


  1. ^ , Counterpoint, 2014, p.369Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and BluesJoel Selvin,
  2. ^ Cad, Saint. "Top 10 Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Allmusic.comAndrew Hamilton, "The Pearls", . Retrieved 14 August 2015
  4. ^ , Scarecrow Press, 2013, p.228Who Did It First?: Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original ArtistsBob Leszczak,
  5. ^ Allmusic.comSteve Leggett, "Derek Martin", . Retrieved 14 August 2015
  6. ^ Derek Martin official website. Retrieved 14 August 2015
  7. ^ SoulfulKindaMusicThe Top Notes Discography,
  8. ^ , Scarecrow Press, 2002, p.436Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal GroupsMitch Rosalsky,
  9. ^ , Buenos Aires, October 22, 1977Observer-Reporter"Platters' Singer Guyton Dead",
  10. ^ a b "The Atlantic Story". Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  11. ^ The Beatles. The Beatles Anthology. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2000.
  12. ^ Ian MacDonald, "Revolution in the Head"
  13. ^ Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions
  14. ^ "USA Discography". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  15. ^ Ian Macdonald, Revolution in the Head, p.67
  16. ^ "Twist and Shout". The Beatles Bible. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Live Performance". YouTube. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 565.  
  19. ^ Johnny O'Keefe | Discography - Charting B-Sides
  20. ^ Johnny O'Keefe#Charting B-Sides
  21. ^

External links

Preceded by
"Mr Blobby" by Mr Blobby
UK Singles Chart Number 1 single by Chaka Demus and Pliers
January 2, 1994 for 2 weeks
Succeeded by
"Things Can Only Get Better" by D:Ream
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