"Twist and Shout"
Familiar version: The Beatles (1964)
Original version: The Top Notes (1961)
First hit version: The Isley Brothers (1962)
Maybe most people know "Twist and Shout" wasn't a Beatles original, but I bet few know that the Isley Brothers version wasn't the first one either.
The song was originally recorded by a group called the Top Notes. Their version was produced by the still-inexperienced Phil Spector, who "ruined" it according to the songwriters, Phil Medley and Bert Berns.
Berns produced the Isley Brothers version a year later, with much better results both artistically and commercially (reaching #17 on the Top 40 charts). It was eclipsed two years later by the Beatles' definitive version, but it's still excellent.
The Beatles (It takes about 15 seconds before the music starts.)
The Top Notes (Just not very good imo.)
The Isley Brothers (Almost as good as the Beatles.)
Bonus: The Who, "Shakin' All Over/Twist and Shout" medley (1970)
Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I write about some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on occasional Saturdays.
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