The Beatles: Twist and Shout


This was written in 1961 by Phil Medley and Bert Berns and first recorded by the Top Notes, but they ruined it. Amazingly this was produced by Phil Spector.

The next year it was recorded by the Isley Brothers and produced by co-writer Bert Berns, who intended to demonstrate to Spector how he meant it to sound. It was the Isley Brothers’ first Top 20 hit, reaching No 17 in the States.

The best version, to my mind, is by the Beatles on their first album Please Please Me in 1963, with terrific raw vocals from John Lennon and a heavy beat.

This, in my opinion, was when the Beatles were at their best, when they recorded material by other writers, before they succumbed to the lure of the extra royalties to be gained from being writers as well as performers. We have that to thank for such gems as Octopus’s Garden and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

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