Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Top Notes

Twist and Shout

First recorded (as “Shake It Up, Babe”) by The Top Notes (1961).
Hit versions by The Isley Brothers (US #17/R&B #2 1962), The Beatles (US #2/UK #1 1963).

From the wiki: “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 Philadelphia vocal group, the Top Notes (sometimes named ‘Topnotes’): ‘Shake It Up, Babe.’ This was before Spector had perfected his ‘Wall of Sound’ technique, and the recording lacked all of the energy the Top Notes exhibited in its live performances. Also, rather ironically, even though ‘twist’ was in the title, Spector chose to arrange the song in a pseudo-Bossa nova style, it being the dance fashion of the day.

“Songwriter Bert Russell felt Spector had ruined the song, and went out to show Spector how the song should be done. 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.

“The resulting recording captured the verve of an Isley Brothers live performance, and became the trio’s first record to reach a Top 20 position in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (peaking at #2 on the R&B chart).