March 1958: The Coasters Record "Yakety Yak"

The Coasters' "Yakety Yak"
Photo Credit
Atlantic Records

On March 17, 1958, The Coasters recorded the song that would become not only their third chart-topper on the Billboard R&B singles chart, but their first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Top 100.

Written, produced, and arranged - a triple threat! - by the duo of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, “Yakety Yak” arrived on the heels of “Searchin’” and “Young Blood,” which, in addition to being The Coasters’ first two No. 1 R&B hits, were both Top 10 hits on the Top 100 (the precursor to the modern Hot 100, introduced later that year), reaching No. 3 and No. 8, respectively. With that kind of momentum, it was only a matter of time before they managed to pull off the full crossover and top the Hot 100, but the fact that it remained in the top spot for seven weeks...okay, now that might’ve been a surprise!

Then again, maybe it wasn’t a surprise: the song’s lyrics were clearly aimed smack dab at the group’s teenage audience, who were well familiar with being ordered to take out the papers and the trash, lest they fail to receive any spending cash. With that in mind, it’s really no wonder that kids around the country wanted to hear a song that was unabashedly mocking their parents and their demands.

Over the years, “Yakety Yak” has been covered by everyone from Jan & Dean to Phantom Planet, but we can’t resist offering up one of the higher-profile versions of the song: it’s the one recorded by 2 Live Crew for the soundtrack of Twins, and it is most definitely...something.

Thanks for paying tribute, Luther Campbell, but all things being equal, we think we’re gonna go ahead and stick with The Coasters.

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