Written by: Bert Russell & Phil Medley
Released: March 22nd, 1963
Appears on: Please Please Me
Lead vocal: John
The Top Notes.
Ever heard of these guys? No? Well, I didn't think so. They recorded the first version of "Twist And Shout" and it bombed for them. The single was terribly produced by a young Phil Spector, whose "Wall Of Sound" was in its' infancy and hardly perfected.
The Isely Brothers, though, took the song and ran with it, turning it into a party track, like their previous hit, "Shout!". This is the version The Beatles were probably familiar with and they were able to not only top it, but destroy it.
The story of how "Twist And Shout" was recorded is recounted numerous times and every time I hear it, it gets even more unbelievable. After recording nine songs in a row, the group took a break and drank some milk. Either Neil Aspinall or Mal Evans (I think it was Mal, but just to be safe) saw blood in John's cup - as I mentioned in "There's A Place", John was sick during the sessions. John, though, would not be stopped and the group ran in to record two takes of "Twist And Shout". The version that landed on the album was the first take, since by the time the second take was finished, John couldn't even talk.
How perfect a way is this to close the album? Yes, it is a cover, but today, if you tell people that and they have no idea. The vast majority of people know only of this version, propelled by John Hughes' fantastic 1986 film Ferris Beuller's Day Off (oh come on, it's a fun movie), so it seems that the Beatles reign supreme.
The way the boys play the song is the same way they play the rest of the songs on the album. "Twist And Shout" was a regular in the Cavern shows, and it almost seems like destiny that this song had to close out the record. Seriously, nothing could come after it. The moment where Ringo bangs that last drum has to be the point where the needle lifts off the vinyl. This has to be the part where you have to lean back and realize that what you just listened to is a piece of history: the first Beatles album - the first album by the greatest band ever.
Next up: "From Me To You"!