(Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson, Morris Levy)
Song by Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson and Morris Levy where 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 & Bridges.
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.