Twist & Shout (EP)

 Royal Variety Performance 1963 

Twist and Shout

     See Dad I told you the Beatles were good. They are topping the bill on the Royal Variety Command Performance at the London Palladium.
     What? The Royal Variety Perfomance? The Beatles?
     Yes Dad! On Sunday the Beatles are topping the bill on the Royal Variety Command Performance at the London Palladium.
I repeated this in full as I knew Dad understood the Significance of the Royal Variety Command Performance at the London Palladium. I had an Ace and I was going to use it several times.
      We can all watch them together. As a family. Coz they are the best, they are topping the bill at Royal Variety Command Performance at the London Palladium and that proves it.
     Well I hope they don’t disgrace it with their Yeah Yeah Yeahs and shaking their hair.
     Moptops, Dad
     They have moptops Dad, Beatle haircuts!
     I don’t think they’ve ever had a haircut in their life. If it was down to me I’d get them up to Georges with you two and we’d have them ship shape and Bristol fashion in no time.
     You make us get crew cuts Dad, American haircuts, we’re British we should have Beatle haircuts, at least they are English.
There was great excitement that Sunday night in the Garnett household, at least in the John Fred corner of it, who just assumed that his excitement was matched by all and sundry across the familial plains of 7 Gordon Avenue. Everyone in the street was going to be watching it according to Tony, who knew about these things. The Zodiac next door wasn’t in the street so that meant they were staying in, and as they were a very sophisticated couple next door, it was obvious what they would be doing. And I knew what the talk would be about amongst us teenagers at School tomorrow; The B E A T L E S, Beatles.
Mum was definitely up for it, she had warmed to the Beatles now and would even buy me the Twist and Shout EP for Christmas, for a brief time the greatest piece of vinyl ever to circulate in the known Universe, well 7 Gordon Avenue at least, and put it in my Christmas stocking. Notwithstanding having to fight it out to be noticed alongside the more customary Christmas gifts, an orange, the traditional Garnett handkerchiefs, new socks and a chocolate selection box, Twist and Shout would, eventually, emerge from the stocking in triumph. So triumphantly in fact that it stays in the memory more sharply than the wonderful bike hiding in thegarage, which was in fact my best Christmas present ever. I can still visualise the red fishnet Christmas stocking distorted by the Twist and Shout EP (my first EP! Almost an album!) It took me no time to notice it sticking out of the stocking and I think I squealed like Sara. The Beatles EP with them all running, jumping and standing still on the cover at the same time. A picture cover too! The glass of 1963 would be running over come Christmas Day. The 1963 Royal Variety Command Performance at the London Palladium, lots of early twentieth acts at their peak getting in the way of the Beatles. Please Please play all my favourites! Please, please me lads. Come on…
1. She Loves You
Ah fantastic! Just fantastic, that’s the way to start . The song that made them legends, returned to number one months after its release, the song that started Beatlemania, the song that made them the moptops, the song that had dominated the airwaves, and our lives ever since.
Watch this Dad they are going to shake their heads now
Yeah, Yeah Yeah!
Disgusting, call themselves grown men…
2. From Me To You
A bit disappointing, this was a great song six months ago but I Saw Her Standing There is much better live and Tony had predicted that they would play that. Still it was the Beatles live, playing a Beatles song live right now on stage in our liviing room on TV, real live in close up and black and white. Not like the time Dad deliberately made us miss their first TV performance on Granada one Saturdaywhen we had guests over.
3. Till there was you
Oh Mum loves this one. Good old Paul he knows how to win over an audience. I quite like this too, but its not Pop Music is it?
There you are Dad, listen to that.
Not as good as in the musical, but a good song of course. You can’t go wrong with a good song. If only they could write songs like that. They do write their own songs Dad! I’m not surprised.
Ron I’m listening to this!
Alright Ann, sorry. This is much better.
4. Twist and Shout
      “For this next song we will need a bit of audience participation.”
 John Lennon. Confident John Lennon telling the audience what to do, of course he would. My favourite, Paul, was smiling along after his show tune triumph had set up the big denouement that was about to hit us.
     “For those of you in the cheaper seats just clap your hands”
A stiffled titter as though Frankie Howerd had started on a joke that no one knew the ending to.
      “The rest of you, just rattle your jewelry.”
     What did he say?
     He asked the Queen to rattle her jewelry Ron, said Mum with a discreet smile.
She winked at me.
     What!! The head of the Armed Forces? Rattle her jewelry? How dare he? They should clap him in irons.
A shiver raced down my spine at the cheek of it. Was this the moment Mum decided to buy me the Twist and Shout EP for Christmas?
     Dad it’s Twist and Shout, their best live song.
     They should behead him! And he’d get a haircut that way as well!
You never realise what your best family moments are at the time because they are far too intense. Your memory sorts it out later on for you of course, and this was a great family moment being delivered on a flaming pie. The deathless chords started up, just a cue to deliver Lennon to the starting gate really, a little taradiddle by Ringo and then the lungs burst in. I’m sitting up in my seat now, just as I would be five years later when George Best rounds the Benfica defence and puts Manchester United ahead in extra time in the European Cup Final.
We’re shaking up baby now
Shaking up baby 
Twist and Shout 
Twist and Shout
He’s just giving it a lungful, Lennon, looking disdainfully at the audience. Years later I learnt he actually had a squint, but he looked arrogantly powerful when he sang;
Come on Come on
Come Come baby now
Come on baby
Well shouted it really.
Come on and work it on out 
Work it on Out 
Well work it on out
     Is this a song about shouting? A disgrace! And in front of the Queen, Abloody disgrace.
     Ron the boys are listening, not shouting.
It’s just twenty four seconds into the song and it is amazing; silent mayhem is being wreked in the room as the sounds of the Beatles pour out of the TV set. The Beatles are stealing the TV away from Dad, from all the Dads who went through the War and never really recovered, and they are handing it over to all the young people in the country who have had enough of the War, Dunkirk, El Alamein, D-Day, rationing, syrup and strings, working-class inferiority, National Service, Suez,the eleven plus, school dinners and the rest of it; “what have you got”. Twenty-four seconds throwing off twenty-four years of respectful agony in life of the working classes.
You know you look so good look so good  
you know you got me going now
got me going just like I knew you would 
knew you would
I’m not sure what I should do in response. Should I stand, sit, leap around, listen, smile, sing along? All of those things? I empathise with a suppressed intensity in tumultuous agreement with the Fab Four; Twist and Shout as I sit and smile with rockets running through my muscles and I suddenly float up above the room.Everyone in the room is glued to the TV and everyone has a different reason for it. All Together Now.
Shaking up baby now
shaking up baby 
twist and shout 
twist and shout
Go on John, build it up now…
come on, come on,
come on baby now
come on baby come on and work it on out 
work it on out
Electric, fab, we need new words for this, I’m burning with enjoyment and I just don’t know how to describe it. The grey post-war years had left us inarticulate in the face of happiness and joy and this was a great affirmative lungful of happiness and joy (and a whole load of frustration and anger too) being thrown all over us. You can count me in! Dad though was going “You can count me out”, you could see it in his body language. Good at counting, Dad, he taught Maths.
 you know you twist little girl 
you know you twist so fine
come on and twist a little closer know
and let me know that you are mine
OOH….One minute six seconds of call and response and the walls of the rooms are sweating.
This is more intense then the first episode of Dr Who when William Hartnell walked into the TARDIS for the first time and the space-time continuum turned out to be warped. Warp Factor Two; thank you boys. And an instrumental break, bye bye Shads listen to that George Harrison go Hank Marvin aint got nothing on this.
 Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah
Now its all four of them together. All for one and one for all; and all for us!
Ah, yeah,
(Oh great! Tony is right they do something on every syllable, none of this polite English songs thing of going a whole verse on a single idea)
      Oh Yeah!
     What did you say John?
     Yeah, Dad, I said Yeah
     I think you mean yes John
     I think they mean Yeah Dad
And so do I…

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