Sam Cooke is more known as a romantic crooner than as a soul shouter. Like some others who fit this stereotype (like Smokey Robinson), however, he could also whip up a rock'n'roll storm sometimes. "Twistin' the Night Away," a Top Ten hit in 1962, was one of his best uptempo numbers, and though it might have been crafted to cash in on the twist craze, it was certainly one of the greatest rock'n'roll records to take the twist as part or all of its subject. The party mood is set in the first few bars, with a downward roll of the drums and a Latin-influenced brass fanfare. Cooke ingratiates himself right away with his suave but energetic tales of dancers grooving uninhibitedly. The rhythm gets handclapping-steady in the chorus, Cooke making hooks with insistent repetitions of the word "twistin'." The instrumental break is gimmicky but in a fun way, as the backup singers toss out various dance commands while a rock'n'roll saxophonist -- it sure sounds like King Curtis -- rips through some barroom floor-busting notes. "Twistin' the Night Away" is one of those songs that compels even poor dancers to move around to, owing to its catchy tune, Cooke's friendly exhortations, and its utterly unself-conscious groove. A rawer though less effective version of the song can be heard on Cooke's Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 album, which was not released until long after the singer's death. Rod Stewart did a very popular cover version of the song on his 1972 album Never a Dull Moment.