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Twist and Shout – Best Cover Versions of (Music Monday)

*** First of all…it’s good to be back. After around four months of going AWOL, finally I can get my bum back here in the blogosphere to once again gibberish-out, and I hope I can keep it up for now. Okay, enough about that and let’s get into what this post is supposed to do: Music Monday! ***

Original Title: Shake It Up, Baby
Written by: Phil Medley and Bert Russell
Original Artist: Top Notes
Covers by: The Isley Brothers, The Beatles

The song Twist and Shout, originally titled Shake It Up, Baby, was written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell and performed by Top Notes in 1961. Bert Russell (also known as Bert Berns) was a pretty big studio songwriter and producer who also gave birth to other 60’s hits such as Hang on Sloopy (The McCoys) and Piece of My Heart (Erma Franklin). About the Top Notes, there’s not a lot to say as information about them is a bit scarce, except that they were based in Philadelphia, active around 50’s to early 60’s, and as shown in their version of this number, played early swing/RnB/rock n roll music. Too bad, their original version failed to hit success and Atlantic Record terminated their contract not so long after the release.
Top Notes - Shake It Up, Baby

Starting as a family gospel group of four brothers in the 50’s, The Isley Brothers then entered the more commercial music scene in late 50’s by performing doo-wop and early RnB. In 1962, they became the first to cover the song was—under the new title with which the song became famous later on, Twist and Shout—for their second album with the same title. Though sources say that their music is more of RnB/Motown in genre, this particular number—if my ears serve me right—sounds a little bit "two tone" for me, and the “two tone-ish” guitar stroke and also the presence of the brass section make me fell for their version—even to the point of thinking “...hmmm...Is it better than the Beatles' version?” Well…in some ways, it is!

The Isley Brothers – Twist and Shout

The one responsible in making Twist and Shout a big-bang-hit song is, of course, The Beatles. To be honest, I’ve always thought that their version is a little bit…too standard. I mean for a band like The Beatles. This song even didn’t make my “Great Beatles playlist” all this long. But then I watched The Beatles on Record video from BBC and when it comes to tell about the recording of this number for Please Please Me album, it’s like I found enlightenment in how to listen to the song. Just watch the section of that BBC video I have here. I think you’ll see what I mean.

BBC: The Beatles on Record (Please Please Me album)

The Beatles – Twist and Shout
Oh,Yeah! It's John's beautiful raw vocal!

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