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



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

The Top Notes' "Shake It Up, Baby"[edit][]

In 1961, a 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"): "Shake It Up, Baby". This was before Spector perfected his "Wall of Sound" technique, and the recording lacked all of the energy the group exhibited in its live performances.[1] Songwriter Bert Russell felt Spector had ruined the song, and went out to show Spector how it should be done.[2]

The Isley Brothers' version[edit][]

"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, Russell opted to produce, and thus demonstrate to Spector what he had intended to be the "sound" of the record.[2] 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 andR&B charts, and for a time established the group's reputation for producing fast-paced songs during their earlier career.


  • Ronald Isley – lead vocals
  • O'Kelly Isley, Jr. – backing vocals
  • Rudolph Isley – backing vocals
  • Bert Russell – production
  • Eric Gale; Guitar
  • Trade Martin; Guitar
  • Cornell Dupree; Guitar
  • Chuck Rainey; Bass
  • Paul Griffin; Piano
  • King Curtis; Sax
  • Gary Chester; Drums

The Beatles' version[edit][]

"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
[show]14 tracks
"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
  • Tollie 9001 (US)
  • Capitol 5624 (US, reissue)
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"


Released on the Beatles' first UK album, Please Please Me, the recording of which on February 11, 1963 was their first album session and is notable for 11 songs recorded in a mere 10 hours. "Twist and Shout", with John Lennon on lead vocals, was the last song recorded; producer George Martin knew Lennon's voice would suffer from the performance, so he left it until last, with only 15 minutes of scheduled recording time remaining.

Lennon was suffering from a 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".[3]

A second take was attempted, but Lennon had nothing left and it was abandoned.[4] George Martin said, "I did try a second take ... but John's voice had gone."[5]

Released as a single in the US on March 2, 1964, with "There's a Place" as its B-side,[6] 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 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.[7] 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 theAnthology 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 forBBC 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" byRitchie Valens, and the famous vocal buildup resembles that in "Do You Love Me" by The Contours.

1986 recharting[edit][]

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2014)

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, theRodney 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[edit][]

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.


  • John Lennon – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney – bass, backing vocals
  • George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Ringo Starr – drums

Engineered by Norman Smith[8]

The Who's version[edit][]

"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 1984
Format 7"
Recorded November 4, 1980

Odyssey Studios, London, UK

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,[9] with their bassist John Entwistle singing the lead vocals. The 1982 version can be heard on the live album Who's Last.


  • Pete Townshend
  • Roger Daltrey
  • John Entwistle
  • Kenney Jones

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes' version[edit][]

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.[10]

Other cover versions[edit][]

  • In 1964, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their album The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits.[11]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • The song was also covered by the Mamas & the Papas in 1967 in the style of a ballad on their album Deliver.
  • Cliff Richard also covered the song in 1967 for a film soundtrack.
  • Bruce Springsteen has played it live more than 350 times since 1973, 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.[citation needed]
  • In 1993, Chaka Demus & Pliers recorded a reggae version featuring Jack Radics, which went to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1994.[10]
  • In Kidsongs, the kids sang it in the episode "I Can Dance".
  • In A Little Curious, Mop and Mr. Shoe sang this song while Mop teaches Mr. String how to do the twist.