Sam Cooke

Twistin' the Night Away

Composed by Sam Cooke

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1962 Hallmark
The Best of Sam Cooke [RCA] 1962 Hallmark
Sam Cooke at the Copa 1964 ABKCO Records 5:04
No Image 196? TRIP 4:20
No Image 1970 RCA
No Image 1976 RCA
National Lampoon's Animal House [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1978
Various Artists
Geffen / Universal 2:39
One Night Stand: Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club 1963 1985 Music On Vinyl
The Man and His Music 1986 RCA 2:40
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1962 1986
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:40
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's, Vol. 2 [1990] 1990
Various Artists
RCA 2:37
Greatest Hits 1998 RCA/Legacy 2:43
The Man Who Invented Soul 2000 Sony Music 4:17
16 Most Requested Songs 2000 Castle Music Ltd. 2:40
Hits! 2001 BMG International 2:42
The Best of Sam Cooke [Paradiso] 2002 Paradiso 2:43
Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 2003 ABKCO Records 2:44
Wonderful World: The Very Best of Sam Cooke 1957-60 2011 RCA
Night Beat/One Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club 2011 Legacy / RCA 5:18
The RCA Albums Collection 2011 RCA / Sony Music 5:18
The  Best of Sam Cooke [APO] 2012 Analogue Productions / APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:44
200 Sixties Hits: 200 Classic No. 1 Songs from the 60s 2012
Various Artists
Maximuze 2:36
The Singles Collection 2013 Not Now Music
Twistin the Night Away/Swing Low 2013 Soul Jam 2:43
The 1962 British Hit Parade, Pt. 1: January-May [Acrobat] 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:39
Britain's Greatest Hits 1962 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Licensing / Fabulous 2:41
Original Album Classics 2014 RCA
Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the 50s & 60s 2015
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:40
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 13: 1962
Various Artists
Acrobat / Trapeze 2:39
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:39
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:42
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 43
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:36
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:42
Golden Voices of the 60's, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 4:32
King of Soul [Sound and Vision] Sound and Vision 2:43
Playlist: The Very Best of Sam Cooke Legacy / Playlist / RCA 2:43
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 2: 1959-1962
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:39
Soul Music Hits the Charts 1955-1962
Various Artists
History of Soul Records 2:42
Soul Party [Not Now]
Various Artists
Not Now Music
The  Sockhop Collection: Be My Baby
Various Artists
StarVista 2:41
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:39
Twist Anthems
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:43
Twistin' the Night Away
Various Artists
Jasmine Records
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