Music Minute: Poison Ivy – The Coasters(1959) + {Bonus: The Aztecs(1964)}

Written by American songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Poison Ivy was originally recorded by The Coasters in 1959. It went to #1 on the R&B chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The duo would write a string of hits which would lead them to rise to fame in the 50s teaming up with other writers and writing hits themselves.  Some famous songs include “Hound Dog“, “Jailhouse Rock” “Stand By Me” “On Broadway“.

About a girl names Ivy, calling her “Poison Ivy” because of the girls reputation.  In a recently published biography about Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller, the song’s authors, it was confirmed that they also intended Ivy’s “poisonous” nature to be a code for her actually carrying a sexually-transmitted disease. She is compared to measles, mumps,chickenpox, the common cold, and whooping cough, but is deemed worse, because “Poison Ivy, lord, will make you itch.” The song also makes references to other flowers such as a rose and a daisy.

Poison Ivy grew to be covered The Rolling Stones recorded two different versions in 1963, the second version appeared on the EP The Rolling Stones, released early 1964.  The Hollies recorded a version in the 1960s, The Romantics – on the 1985 album, Rhythm Romance.

We love all versions of this hit, but we’ve tracked down a version on youtube by Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs from 1964 that we really wanted to share with our readers.  Maybe not the original (a hard performance to find by the Coasters) but we love a little Aztec Enchantment, and the mid 60s groove in the video above!

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{The Eye}
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