Shoppin' for Clothes

Album: The Ultimate Coasters (1960)
Charted: 83

Songfacts®:

  • After previously working for both The Robins and The Coasters before writing for Elvis, this was the first song Leiber and Stoller made for The Coasters after their falling out with Elvis' manager. The song was inspired by Leiber and Stoller having a Manhattan office in a building that also housed a lingerie shop. Jerry Leiber, ever the lecher, recounts in Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, "I liked the thought that while Mike and I were banging out ideas for songs, four stories below women were wriggling in and out of underwear."
  • This is one of the few Leiber and Stoller pieces that was not entirely original. During recording, Coaster Billy Guy mentioned a song he'd heard on the radio that had something to do with clothes and shopping. Though both The Coasters and the songwriters combed record stores fruitlessly, they couldn't find the original song. So they tried writing this as a kind of second interpretation. That original song turned out to be "Clothes Line" by Kent Harris, who now has a co-writer credit on "Shoppin' for Clothes."
  • During live performances, The Coasters would wheel out a clothes rack and act out the parts. This was typical of The Coasters performances, in which they were as much actors and dancers as they were vocalists. One example of this that's easy to find online is the video of their hit "Charlie Brown." The whole act was also recreated in the Broadway musical Smokey Joe's Cafe.

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