The Coasters

Poison Ivy

Composed by Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller

Song Review by

"Poison Ivy" might not be the most profound lyric that producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller supplied for the Coasters, but it might have the catchiest tune of all the Coasters hits. "Poison Ivy" is something of a novelty song, the lyrics entirely about the discomforts of "Poison Ivy," albeit relayed pretty comically and wittily. What propelled the record into the Top Ten, though, was the catchy, calypso-like riff, which ended on five particularly compulsive notes that alternate between two emphatic guitar chords. The Coasters delivered the lyric with habitually good cheer, the instruments dropping out to leave the vocals unaccompanied for a line before the end of the verse. That was the cue for a particularly zany low, wavering guitar twang, which introduced the more ominous, lower-key chorus. The bridge was also catchy and amplified the comic aspect -- not all that funny on paper, perhaps, but funny enough when wedded to a catchy rock tune -- by comparing "Poison Ivy" to all manner of other diseases, ending with a dramatic unaccompanied vocal declaring "Poison Ivy" to be the king of that particular hill. The "Poison Ivy" in the song could subtly be referring to a girl who causes trouble, but really most of the lyrical references are overtly about the medical condition itself. "Poison Ivy" was covered by numerous British Invasion bands, including Manfred Mann, the Hollies, and the Paramounts (who evolved into Procol Harum). The most well known of those covers, though, was by the Rolling Stones, who actually did a couple of different versions. One of those was intended to be their second single in 1963, but was canceled, later showing up on a compilation album; the other was used on an early 1964 British EP; and neither was released in the States during the 1960s. The Stones' versions are fair, one of them sticking pretty faithfully to the original arrangement, the other changing the rhythm to a more standard straight-ahead R&B-rock one.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Greatest Recordings 1964 Primo 2:44
No Image 1971 Atlantic
No Image 1972
Original Soundtrack
Bell 2:02
No Image 1976
Various Artists
MCA 2:39
No Image 1978 Atlantic
16 Greatest Hits [Deluxe] 197? Deluxe
Young Blood 1982 Blumountain Records 2:48
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4 (1958-1962) 1985
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:40
The Ultimate Coasters 1986 Warner Bros. 2:45
Greatest Hits [Onyx] 1987 Hollywood/IMG / Hollywood 2:43
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1959 [1988] 1988
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:42
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Rhythm & Blues: 1959 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Hit Parade Top Rock 'n' roll Hits: 50's and 60's, Vol. 1 1991
Various Artists
Orfeon
The Greatest Hits 1991 K-Tel 2:40
50 Coastin' Classics: Anthology 1992 Rhino 2:45
The Coasters Featuring Cornell Gunther 1992 New Rose Records 2:39
The Very Best of the Coasters 1993 Rhino Flashback
Golden Hits 1996 ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 2:48
Great 1996 Goldies 2:43
Rockfile, Vol. 4 1997
Various Artists
Rockfile 2:41
Poison Ivy [Kingfisher] 1997 Kingfisher Records 2:42
Greatest Hits [Prime Cuts] 1997 Rhino / Prime Cuts 2:58
Then He Kissed Me 1998
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 3:02
Chart Toppers: Rock Hits of the 50s 1998
Various Artists
Priority Records / Priority 2:44
Yakety Yak [Mastertone] 1998 Mastertone 2:49
At the Club 1999
Various Artists
Kent 2:42
Forever Gold 2000 St. Clair 2:58
Rock Revolution 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:57
Roots of Rock 'N' Roll 2000 Direct Source 2:58
Doo Wop Collection [Madacy 2000] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:41
The Doo Wop Collection, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:41
Founding Fathers of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame 2001
Various Artists
Town Sound 2:47
The Coasters [Direct Source] 2001 Direct Source 2:44
You Can Make It If You Try 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur 2:41
The Coasters Greatest Hits [Laserlight] 2001 Laserlight 2:42
Rock N' Roll Hits: Golden 1959 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:44
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Time Music
Searchin' 2002 Orpheus Records 2:48
Poison Ivy [Hallmark] 2002 Hallmark Recordings 2:46
Soul R&B Hits, Vol. 1 2002
Various Artists
Essential Records
Great Balls of Fire! 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:40
Fabulous 50's [2003 Madacy Box] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:56
Hall of Fame 2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 2:42
All the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Strategic Marketing 2:44
#1 R&B Hits [Madacy Box] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
The Singing Detective [2003] 2003
Original Soundtrack
Doc Hollywood 2:42
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Box of Rock 2003
Various Artists
Import 2:43
Number 1 R&B Hits [Orange] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
Gold Collection: Party Rock 'N' Roll Hits 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:57
Doo Wop Favorites [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
Heartbreaker Hits of the 50's, 60's and 70's 2004
Various Artists
Retro Music 2:47
Doo Wop, Vol. 2 [Platinum] 2004
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:46
The  Coasters/One by One 2004 Ais / Hoo Doo Records / Hoodoo 2:44
Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay 2004
Various Artists
Mojo Music (Independent) 2:49
Atlantic Gold 2005
Various Artists
WEA International 2:40
All Our Best 2005 Legacy 2:44
The Ultimate Doo Wop 2005
Various Artists
Green Hill 2:42
The Greatest Rock and Roll Concert Ever [Horizon] 2005
Various Artists
Horizon 2:42
The Coasters [Platinum Disc] 2005 Platinum Disc 2:59
All That Soul 2005
Various Artists
WEA/Warner 2:43
Rhino Hi-Five: The Coasters 2005 Atco 2:42
Live at the Rock 'N' Roll Palace, Vol. 3 2005
Various Artists
Quantum Leap
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4: 1957-1960 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:42
Court Jesters of Rock and Roll 2006 American Legends 2:46
Blowing the Fuse: 29 R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox in 1959 2006
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:41
Fabulous 50s: Magic Touch 2006
Various Artists
Laserlight 2:56
Atlantic R&B Box Set 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:42
100 Golden Oldies of the 50s, 60s & 70s 2006
Various Artists
Deja Vu 2:45
No Image 2007 Cleopatra 3:00
The Definitive Soul: The Coasters 2007 Atlantic / Rhino
R&B Classics [MVD] 2007
Various Artists
Audiovisual
Best of the '50s [Madacy] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
Rock and Roll of the 50s [Madacy 2007] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:56
Number 1 R&B Hits of the 50s 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:57
Radio Gold, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Ace 2:42
Originals: Nostalgic 2007
Various Artists
Music Brokers 2:37
There's a Riot Goin' On: The Coasters on Atco 2007 Rhino / Warner Bros. 2:44
Atlantic Top 60: R&B Grooves 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 2:45
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Cheap O Lata / WG Productions
25 Best: Doo-Wop Era 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
Eis Am Stiel Very Best Of - Die Schonsten Hits Der Und 60er Jahre! 2008
Various Artists
Edel Entertainment / Edel Records 2:41
Best of Doo Wop [Madacy] 2008
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 2:58
Great Fifties Collection 2008
Various Artists
Red X
Best of the 50's [Madacy 2008] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
60's #1 Hits Reunion Concert 2008
Various Artists
Well Go USA
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Digital Revolution 2:58
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 2:45
Tell It Like It Is!: Legends of Soul 2009
Various Artists
Delta Music Group 2:44
Dancing, Strolling, Rock 'n' Rolling 2010
Various Artists
Go Entertain
Dreamboats & Petticoats, Vol. 4 2010
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:40
Lemon Popsicles and Strawberry Milkshakes: Million Sellers 2010
Various Artists
Go Entertain 2:41
Baby That Is Rock 'n' Roll 2011 Snapper UK 2:42
The Cruisin' Story 1959 2011
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:42
Doo Wop: The Greatest Hits, 1957-60 2011
Various Artists
Jasmine Records 2:42
Lemon Popsicles and Strawberry Milkshakes [10 Disc Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Go Entertainment 2:41
The  1959 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: July-December 2011
Various Artists
Acrobat
Blue Moon [Rhino] 2011
Various Artists
Rhino 2:42
The Influences Behind the Rolling Stones 2012
Various Artists
Hoo Doo Records 2:44
Soul: The Collection 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 2:42
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 10: 1959 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:43
Those Hoodlum Friends: The Coasters in Stereo 2013 History of RnB Records 2:45
No Image 2013 K-Tel 2:40
The  R&B No. 1s of the '50s 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:43
Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the 50s & 60s 2015
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:43
The Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-1962 2016 Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:43
100 Hits of the 50s [Tring]
Various Artists
Tring 2:42
25 Rock 'N' Roll Hits, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Tring 2:42
300 Hits: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:41
No Image
Various Artists
Documents
America's Music Legacy: Rock 'N Roll
Various Artists
Quantum Leap
American Heartbeat: The 50s
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:40
Atlantic Gold: 100 Soul Classics
Various Artists
Rhino Atlantic / Warner Music 2:45
Box of Rock [Disc 9]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:43
No Image
Various Artists
Awesome Inc. 2:55
Classic Soul
Various Artists
Rhino
Doo Wop: Original Classics
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 2:57
Dreamboats and Petticoats: 10th Anniversary Collection
Various Artists
UMOD 2:43
Early R & B Classics, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Cherished Records 2:45
Get on the Right Track: Mod R&B, Jazz & Ska
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:43
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:39
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:41
Group Harmony
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:44
Heartbreak Hotel [Bellevue]
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:41
How Britain Got the Blues, Vol. 4: How Mods Got the Blues
Various Artists
History of RnB Records / Rhythm & Blues / Rhythm and Blues 2:45
I Just Love Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:41
Jukebox Favourites: The Best of Early R&B
Various Artists
AP Music
Leiber & Stoller: The Absolutely Essential
Various Artists
Big 3
My Kind of Music: Rock'n'Roll Jukebox
Various Artists
My Kind of Music
No Image
Various Artists
Ba-Ba 2:57
No Image Awesome Inc. 2:55
No Image
Various Artists
Roulette Records 2:43
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 2: 1959-1962
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:42
Rolling Stones Beginnings, Vol. 2: Yesterday's Papers
Various Artists
History of RnB Records 2:42
Rumba Blues, Vol. 3: Dancing Fever 1956-1960
Various Artists
History of RnB Records 2:49
S.O.U.L. BMG / BMG / Sony Music
No Image
Various Artists
Com-Es Musik Schallplatten 2:42
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
No Image
Various Artists
Labelle 2:41
Stone Roots: The Records That Inspired the Rolling Stones
Various Artists
Ideal Music Group 2:46
No Image
Various Artists
WM UK 2:40
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 2:40
That Is Rock 'N' Roll Let the Good Times Roll / Musicpro
The  Best of the Coasters [AP] AP 2:43
The  Hit Songs of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, 1952-62
Various Artists
Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:44
The  Leiber-Stoller Songbook
Various Artists
Ideal 2:46
The  US Singles Collection 1954-1961 Ideal 2:46
The Coasters' Greatest Hits [Hallmark Music & Entertainment] Hallmark / Hallmark Music & Entertainment 2:57
The Coasters: Greatest Hits Ever Green 2:41
The Fifties Album
Various Artists
Warner Music TV
The Kinks Beginnings, Vol. 1: Ramrods, Boll-Weevils & Ravens
Various Artists
History of RnB Records / Redeye Music Distribution 2:41
The Legendary Vocal Groups: 200 Original Hits & Rarities
Various Artists
Documents
No Image
Various Artists
Must Have Records 2:41
The Vintage Collection: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:41
Triple Value Rock & Roll
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Way It Was: Rock Around the Clock the 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:42
Yakety Yak [Single] Sound and Vision 2:55
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