(Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson, Morris
Lee Dorsey got the inspiration for writing this song
when he heard children chanting nursery rhymes. Joining up with the producer Allan Toussaint and
musicians such as Harold Battiste Jr. he released it in 1961 and found
success when it reached the No. 1 spot on the R&B Singles Chart and No.
7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It
was issued on the 1962 album of the same name.
Quickly gaining interest with other singers it was
recorded in French and became a No. 1 hit in France in 1962 for Petula
Clark, when it went by the title of “Ya Ya Twist”. Two years later in 1964 it was
snapped up by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers (aka The Beatles) in
Hamburg and appeared on The Beatles First.
10 years after The Beat Brothers recorded it John
Lennon used it for his 1974 album Walls & Bridges where his son
Julian was the drummer. John
Lennon decided to add it as a snippet to the end of the album where it was
credited as “Starring Julian Lennon on drums and Dad on piano and vocals”
and John had made a remark at the beginning of the recording that said
“Let’s do sitting in the la la and get rid of that”. This did not please the publisher
Morris Levy who he had already upset and who threatened to re-file a
lawsuit on him. He had
previously issued one for copyright infringement on the song “Come
Together” which was inspired by Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me”. However John did record the
song in its entirety again and it was issued on his 1975 Rock ‘n’ Roll,
which was originally supposed to have been issued prior to Walls &
Other artists that have recorded it include Buckwheat
Zydeco on his Waitin’ for My Ya Ya and Ike & Tina Turner on
their Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and Absolutely the Best.
In the movies the original version by Lee Dorsey can
be heard in the 1973 American Graffiti.