"Ya Ya"
1 ya ya dorsey.jpg
Single by Lee Dorsey
from the album Ya Ya
GenreSoul, rock and roll
Songwriter(s)Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson, and Morris Levy

"Ya Ya" is a song by Lee Dorsey. The song was written by Dorsey, C. L. Blast, Bobby Robinson, and Morris Levy. Levy's participation in the writing has been called into question; the Flashback release of the single lists only Dorsey and Blast as writers, as do the liner notes to the American Graffiti soundtrack.[1]


The song was inspired by a children's nursery rhyme, and includes session guitar player Jimmy Spruill on it.[2]

Chart performance

The song reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the R&B singles chart in 1961.[3]

Cover versions

Beatles connection

According to author Mark Lewisohn in The Complete Beatles Chronicles (p. 365), the Beatles regularly performed "Ya Ya", live from 1961 to 1962 in Hamburg, Liverpool and elsewhere. John Lennon was always the lead vocalist on this number but no recorded version is known to exist.

Ya Ya
EP by
Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers
ReleasedOctober 1962
Recorded1962, Hamburg
GenreRock and roll
ProducerBert Kaempfert

However, Tony Sheridan, the Beatles' close associate, recorded a live version of the song for Polydor Records which was released in October 1962 on the A-side of a German extended play[4][nb 1]. This 45RPM is credited to Tony Sheridan & "The Beat Brothers" who are often wrongly believed to be the Beatles. But the fledgling British group had no involvement in recording this track although "Sweet Georgia Brown", included on this disc, is indeed recorded by them.[5]

Track listing for Ya Ya by Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers

7" EP Polydor – 21 485 (1962, Germany.)

A1. / A2. "Ya Ya Part 1 & 2"
B1. "Sweet Georgia Brown"
B2. "Skinny Minny" (sic)[4]

In 1964, "Ya Ya" (Part 1) was included as filler on the German compilation album "The Beatles' First!" and the complete recording can be heard on The Early Tapes of the Beatles, the 1984 CD reissue of this album.[6]

In 1974, John Lennon included a snippet of the song on the album Walls and Bridges with himself on vocals and piano, credited as "Dad", and his 11 year old son Julian on the snare drum.[7] Lennon covered the song fully on his 1975 album Rock 'n' Roll.[8]

Other covers

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Johnny Hallyday (French version)

"Ya ya twist"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
from the album Retiens la nuit
Released1962 (1962)
Songwriter(s)French adaptation: Lucien Morisse, Georges Aber
Johnny Hallyday singles chronology
"Viens danser le twist"
"Retiens la nuit" / "Ya ya twist"
"Serre la main d'un fou"

French singer Johnny Hallyday covered the song in French. His version, titled "Ya ya twist", reached No. 1 in Wallonia (the French speaking part of Belgium) in 1962.[9]

Track listing

7" EP Philips 432.739 BE (1962, France etc.)

A1. "Retiens la nuit" (2:54)
A2. "Sam'di soir" (3:00)
B1. "Ya ya twist" (2:27)
B2. "La faute au twist" (1:50)[10][11]


Chart (1962) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[9] 1

Other French language covers

Covers in other languages

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  1. ^ According to Bill Harry in his liner notes for 1984's The Early Tapes of the Beatles, the musicians involved are Tony Sheridan (guitar and vocals), Rikki Barnes (saxophone), Roy Young (piano), Peter Wharton (bass) and Johnny Watson (drums).


  1. ^ 41 Original Hits from the Soundtrack of American Graffiti (CD Booklet). MCA. 1973.
  2. ^ Spruill, Jimmy, Scratchin’ the Wild Jimmy Spruill Story, Great Voices of the Century (GVC) Recordings, Surrey, UK, 2014, liner notes
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 169.
  4. ^ a b "Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers– Ya Ya at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  5. ^ "Sweet Georgia Brown". 12 October 2017.
  6. ^ "The Beatles / The Beatles With Tony Sheridan / Tony Sheridan And The Beat Brothers – The Early Tapes Of at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  7. ^ Walls and Bridges (Booklet). John Lennon. Apple Records. 1974.((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ "Ya Ya". 16 August 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Johnny Hallyday – Ya Ya Twist" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "ultratop.be - Johnny Hallyday - Retiens la nuit". Ultratop. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  11. ^ "Johnny Hallyday - Retiens La Nuit at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  12. ^ "Petula Clark in the French charts". Petulaclark.net. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  13. ^ "Malika Accompagnée Par les Golden Stars – Ya Ya Twist (1963, Vinyl)". Discogs.
  14. ^ "Sylvie Vartan – Nouvelle Vague (2007, CD)". Discogs.
  15. ^ "Québec Info Musique | Joël Denis".