Yakety Yak

Album: Greatest Hits (1958)
Charted: 12 1
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Songfacts®:

  • This was written by the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had written Elvis Presley's hits "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock." "Yakety Yak" was one of several hits they wrote for The Coasters. In the song, a kid is being scolded by his parents for not doing his chores. There are lots of social implications that can be read into this song, which was written by two Jewish men and sung by a black vocal group. In the book The History of Rock, Bill Millar writes: "The Coasters were clearly irreverent and opposed institutions that white adults held in high esteem. Authority, parents, fidelity, hard work, piety and the suppression of risky pleasures were questioned with a blood and subversive wit. Jews (Leiber and Stoller) and Southern blacks (the Coasters) were expected to show gratitude towards the system. Instead they stood up and criticized it, a theme that can be recognized in almost all their songs."
  • King Curtis, who recorded as a solo artist for Atlantic Records in the '60s, played the famous saxophone solo. In 1963, Boots Randolph used this song as the basis for his instrumental "Yakety Sax."
  • This opens the 1988 movie The Great Outdoors, starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. The Ripley family sings along with it as they drive to their vacation destination.

    The song was also featured on the soundtracks to Stand By Me (1986), Always (1989) and October Sky (1999). The rock band Phantom Planet also covered it for the 1999 film Mumford.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger) sings this in the 1988 comedy Twins. A re-mixed version by 2 Live Crew was used in the movie.
  • This also showed up in these TV shows:

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel ("Doink" - 2017)
    The Office ("The Sting" - 2010)
    Quantum Leap ("Good Morning, Peoria - September 9, 1959" - 1989)
    Rags to Riches ("Pilot" - 1987)
  • In 2017, Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony recorded this with The Coasters (led by original member Leon Hughes). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Idaho

Comments: 9

  • William Kozy from New YorkLet’s not forget the amazing film sound track for “American Graffiti” which also has this song.
  • Jamie from IdahoThis recut version with Krayzie Bone is a brilliant collaboration of four decades apart sending the same message to their children. Stay out of trouble and don’t talk back.
    Great job Mike Nikitas for producing and having the insight to put these talented artists together.
  • Lovetheoldies from Carlisle Pa@P from Chicago, " Just tell your gangbang friends outside, you ain't got time to go get high."
  • Mike from IdahoThere is a rap version...the coasters re cut it with Krayzie Bone from bones thugs harmony..it was produced by mile Nikitas and came out great with Krazie in the middle .
  • Esskayess from Dallas, Tx"Just tell your hoodlum friend outside..."

    Always cracked me up.
  • Cristian from Santiago, ChileA new dance version was release this year (2011) by The Drapers.
  • Jas from Clifton, TxRecording this as a rap song would be considered a crime against humanity. It's basically a protest song that was so catchy that people didn't realize it was actually criticizing them.
  • P from Chicago, IlSomeone needs to record this as a rap song. "Just tell your gangbang friends outside..."
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumSuper good song of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
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