Album Review

The Isley Brothers - Twist & Shout

The Isley Brothers

Twist & Shout


Release Date: June 4th, 1962

Words by: Jason A. Wendleton
August 27th, 1962


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Despite being one of rock's most-covered songs, very few people are aware of the origins of 'twist & shout'. Originally written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell, the song was first recorded by a band called the Top Notes. Their version, which was produced by a then-unknown Phil Spector, wasn't deemed good enough by Bert Russell. Russell knew the song could be a massive hit, but only if it was done his way.

The Isley Brothers, who hadn't had a hit song in nearly three years, were tapped by Russell to re-record the song. The Isley's version went to #2 on the U.S. R&B charts and helped launch countless covers of the tune, most notably one recorded by The Beatles a year later.

Twist & Shout the album doesn't quite live up to the legendary status of its title track, but it's a fun enough rock record. Most of the songs on the album were co-written by Bert Russell whose attempts to write another 'twist & shout' can at times be a bit laughable. The song 'you better come home', for example, is an almost note-for-note copy of the title track.

Despite some of the rather cash-in nature elements of Twist & Shout, there are a few standout tracks that while not eclipsing the greatness of the title track, are fantastic songs nonetheless. 'don't you feel' is both soulful and fun. While the gentle ballad, 'time after time' is heartbreakingly beautiful, if not a bit out of place on an otherwise dance-crazy record.

Twist & Shout may not be a classic album, but it's an interesting artifact that any scholar of early rock n' roll will find worthy of examination.

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