The Coasters

Poison Ivy

Add to Song Favorites ♥

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
The Coasters' Greatest Hits [1959] 1959 Hallmark / Hallmark Music & Entertainment 2:57
No Image 1971 Atco
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
20 Greatest Hits [Deluxe] 1987 Deluxe 2:47
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1959 [1988] 1988
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:42
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 0:00
No Image 1991 Atco 0:00
50 Coastin' Classics: Anthology 1992 Rhino 2:45
70 Ounces of Gold: Pure Gold 1992
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:43
The Very Best of the Coasters 1993 Rhino 2:44
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
Chart Toppers: Rock Hits of the 50s 1998
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:44
Yakety Yak [Mastertone] 1998 Mastertone 2:49
Let's Party 1998 St. Clair / Boxsets 2:56
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
No Image 2000 Direct Source 2:59
Doo Wop Collection [Madacy 2000] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:41
Doo Wop Collection [CD 2] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:41
Founding Fathers of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame 2001
Various Artists
Town Sound 2:47
Drive Time Rock: Convertible Classics 2001
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:44
You Can Make It If You Try 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur 2:41
Murder in the Graveyard 2001
Various Artists
Laserlight 2:58
Rock N' Roll Hits: Golden 1959 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:44
Searchin' 2002 Orpheus Records 2:48
Back to Back: The Drifters & The Coasters 2002 K-Tel Distribution 2:42
The Drifters and Ben E. King Meet the Coasters 2003 Goldies 2:42
Doo Wop Collection [Madacy 2003] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
Hall of Fame 2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 2:42
All the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music 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
Box of Rock 2003
Various Artists
Import 2:43
Number 1 R&B Hits [Orange] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
20 Best of Doo Wop 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:57
Doo Wop Favorites [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:57
The Coasters/One by One 2004 Collectables 0:00
Halloween Party [K-Tel UK] 2004
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:38
All Our Best 2005 Legacy 2:44
The Ultimate Doo Wop 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 0:00
16 Greatest Hits [Passport Audio] 2005 Passport Audio 2:53
All That Soul 2005
Various Artists
WEA / Warner 2:43
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4: 1957-1960 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:42
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
Radio Gold, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Ace 2:42
There's a Riot Goin' On: The Coasters on Atco 2007 Rhino 2:47
Atlantic Top 60: Doo Wop, Rock and Bobby Socks 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 2:45
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 2:45
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
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 Music 2:43
Those Hoodlum Friends: The Coasters in Stereo 2013 History of RnB Records 2:49
The R&B No. 1s of the '50s 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:43
The Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-1962 2016 Acrobat Music 2:43
12 Best of Doo Wop
Various Artists
Madacy
16 Best of Doo Wop
Various Artists
Madacy
300 Hits: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:41
8 Best of Doo Wop
Various Artists
Madacy Special Products
Box of Rock [Disc 9]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:43
Early R & B Classics, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Cherished Records
Get on the Right Track: Mod R&B, Jazz & Ska
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:43
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:41
Heartbreak Hotel [Bellevue]
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:41
No Image
Various Artists
Roulette Records 2:43
Rolling Stones Beginnings, Vol. 2: Yesterday's Papers
Various Artists
History of RnB Records 2:42
No Image
Various Artists
Com-Es Musik Schallplatten
No Image
Various Artists
Labelle
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:40
The Coasters: Greatest Hits Ever Green 2:41
The Hit Songs of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, 1952-62
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:44
Way It Was: Rock Around the Clock the 50's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:42