When the future members of the Beatles were still teenagers learning to play their instruments, they taught themselves to play songs that they had heard on records and on the radio. The American Rock and Roll and R&B records they heard growing up in 1950s Liverpool, and later performed together as a professional cover band, offered them an escape from the depressed post-war landscape around them. When the Beatles finally graduated from the clubs of Liverpool and Hamburg to Abbey Road Studios in London to record their debut album Please Please Me, they would devote nearly half their record to American material they had played as a cover band, including “Twist and Shout.” The band’s many hours studying records, learning the songs, and performing in clubs taught them the skills and discipline necessary to become successful songwriters and performers in their own right.

View More


View Lesson

“Twist and Shout” and Post-War Britain

What role did cover songs like “Twist and Shout” play early in the Beatles's career, and how did their experiences growing up in post-WWII Liverpool and performing in Hamburg nightclubs help them to develop as a professional musical ensemble?
View Lesson

Little Kids Rock Charts: “Twist and Shout”

How does understanding the structure and context of the song "Twist and Shout" inform its performance?