Lee Dorsey

Ya Ya

Composed by Clarence Lewis / Lee Dorsey / Morgan Robinson / Morris Levy

Song Review by

"Sittin' here in la la/ Waitin' for my ya ya," Lee Dorsey sang on his first nationwide hit, "Ya Ya," in 1961, and all across America music lovers soon found themselves asking the question, "Huh?" Listening to the song, it seems fairly obvious that Dorsey's "Ya Ya" was his significant other, who from the sound of things had problems with both punctuality and fidelity, but no one seemed sure just what a "la la" was supposed to be. Bobby Robinson, whose Fire label first released "Ya Ya," claims he got the phrase from hearing some kids playing on a porch swing chanting "Sittin' in the la la," though our protagonist hardly sounds like he's enjoying any playground equipment. Ultimately, it doesn't matter much -- what makes "Ya Ya" a great record is not the lyrics, but Dorsey's supple sugar-and-spice voice, his playful phrasing, and a brilliant backing track featuring Allen Toussaint on piano and Alvin "Red" Tyler on the sax. More than a few folks have covered "Ya Ya" over the years; Ike and Tina Turner toughened up its R&B edges, while Buckwheat Zydeco accentuated the song's Louisiana roots, but the oddest version may well have been from John Lennon, who tacked a brief snippet of himself playing the song at the end of his album Walls and Bridges, with his then 11-year-old son Julian bashing away at the drums.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Ya! Ya! 1962 Hallmark / Hallmark Music & Entertainment / Hallmark Recordings 2:28
No Image 1966 Charly Records / Snapper / Snapper UK
American Graffiti 1973
Original Soundtrack
Geffen 2:25
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MCA
No Image 1985 Charly Records
No Image 1987
Various Artists
Rhino
Cruisin' 1961 1988
Various Artists
Increase Records 3:19
The Wanderers [Warner Brothers] 1989
Original Soundtrack
Warner Bros. 1:57
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1961 - Still Rockin' 1989
Various Artists
2:27
Golden Classics 1990 Collectables 2:28
History of Rock: The 60s, Pt. 2 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
History of Rock, Vol. 2 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 2:29
Great Googa Mooga 1991 Charly Records
Jukebox Giants: WCBS New York, Vol. 2 1992
Various Artists
Collectables 2:28
Rhythm & Blues: 1961 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Soul Mine: The Greatest Hits & More 1960-1978 1993 Charly 2:23
Good Old Rock & Roll: 28 Great Hits 1994
Various Artists
Deluxe 2:25
Carolina Classics, Vol. 2: Coolin' Out 1994
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:24
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:24
Favorite Party: Gold for the Road 1994
Various Artists
Compose Records / Peter Pan (ISP)
No Image 1995 Pickwick
No Image 1995 Pickwick
Hits from 1961 1996
Various Artists
Richmond 2:25
Home of the Blues [Juke Box Treasures] 1996
Various Artists
Juke Box Treasures
Wheelin' and Dealin': The Definitive Collection 1997 Arista 2:26
The New Orleans Hit Story 1997
Various Artists
Charly Records 2:22
The Best of the 60s 1998
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:26
Box of Funny Wacky Favorites 1998
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:26
The 60's Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1  [Box Set] 1999
Various Artists
Collectables
Sweet Soul Music [Dressed to Kill] 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:26
Rock & Roll Show [King] 1999
Various Artists
King / King 2:33
Classic Rhythm & Blues 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
Boys of Rock 60's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:23
The EP Collection 2000 See For Miles Records 2:26
Millennium Soul Hits 2000
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:25
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Collectables
Working in a Coalmine: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey 2001 Music Club Records 2:27
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 6: Heroes & Legends 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:26
#1 R&B Hits: 1960-1964 2001
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 2:26
Let the Good Times Roll: 20 of New Orleans' Finest R&B Classics 1949-1966 2002
Various Artists
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:27
American Graffiti, Vol. 2 2002
Original Soundtrack
DJ Specialist 2:24
Jukebox Hits 1961 [Madacy] 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:25
Rock N' Roll Hits: Golden 1961 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 2:25
Golden Age of American Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 10 2002
Golden Age of American Rock'n'Roll Vol. 10
Ace
History of Rock, Vol. 1-10 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:30
History of Rock Box 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
Rhythm & Blues Collection: Classic R&B Hits 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:27
Rock On 1961 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:27
Crescent City Kings [CD & DVD] 2004
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:24
Let the Good Times Roll, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Liberty / Capitol 2:27
The Real '60s 2004
Various Artists
BMG / BMG Special Products
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Collectables
New Orleans Party Classics [Time Life] 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
Best of the 60's: Oh! What a Night/Love... 2005
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Brentwood Records 2:25
New Orleans Soul 2005 BMG Special Products / Sony BMG 2:27
Essential Louisiana Rhythm and Blues 2005
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:27
The Fire & Fury Story [3 CD] 2005
Various Artists
Snapper 2:23
Holy Cow!: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey 2006 Snapper 2:26
Essential Blues, Vol. 1: Good Singing, Good Playing 2007
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:24
30 #1 Soul Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:25
Soul Party [Direct Source] 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:25
Only the Best of the History of Rock the 60s 2007
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
Funky as I Can Be! 2008 The Great American Music Company 2:28
Sweet Soul Music: 1961 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:23
The Essential Guide to New Orleans 2008
Various Artists
Essential Guide / Union Square Music 2:24
The Ultimate Oldies But Goodies Collection: Raunchy 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
The Ultimate Oldies But Goodies Collection 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
Absolutely the Best 2011 Fuel 2000 2:26
The  Fire/Fury R&B Story 2011
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:28
Billy Connolly's Route 66: Music from and Inspired by the ITV Series 2011
Various Artists
UMTV 2:26
The Hits of the 60s [DST] 2012
Various Artists
Dst / Music & Melody 2:25
Music That Inspired American Graffiti 2012
Various Artists
Not Now Music 2:24
Simply Rock 'n' Roll [2012] 2012
Various Artists
Simply
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 12: 1961 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:26
Sweet Soul Music 2013
Various Artists
Delta / Performance
The Party Mix: Movies 2014
Various Artists
Crimson 2:26
Mod World: Adventures in Ska, Soul, Blues & Jazz 2015
Various Artists
Metro Select
American Music Library: The Hits of 1961
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage
American Sounds of the 60's, Vol. 2
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:23
Beginner's Guide To Rhythm 'N' Blues
Various Artists
Nascente
No Image
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:21
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:26
No Image
Various Artists
Proper / Proper Box
Get on the Right Track: Mod R&B, Jazz & Ska
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:26
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Go'in Back in Time, Vol. 3
Various Artists
ARC Records
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 20
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:23
Golden Voices of the 60's, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:26
Hitsville 62
Various Artists
Cherished Records 2:25
I Just Love Soul Music
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:27
No Image
Various Artists
Wagram
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 10
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 4:15
No Image
Various Artists
Roulette Records 2:18
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 2: 1959-1962
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:27
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:26
No Image
Various Artists
Audio Fidelity
Teen Cruise
Various Artists
Cherished Records 2:25
The  Original Sound of R&B 1961
Various Artists
Ideal 2:29
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