The Crystals' first LP Twist Uptown, originally released in the summer of 1962, occupies an important position in Phil Spector's remarkable body of work. As the first full album produced by Spector and the first LP to be released on his legendary Philles label, it's a crucial cornerstone in the building of the fabled Wall of Sound. Beyond its historic significance, though, Twist Uptown retains a timeless resonance, thanks to Spector's seminal studio wizardry and the Crystals' sweet-but-streetwise vocal magic.
The New York-based Crystals, all of whom were still in their teens at the time, were handpicked by Spector as the first act signed to Philles, and the first performers to receive the full-on Wall of Sound studio treatment. The quintet quickly scored major successes with their Spector-produced singles "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" and "Uptown." The latter, penned by Brill building stalwarts Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, also made history for introducing a new level of gritty social realism to pop.
Indeed, Twist Uptown perfectly embodies the combination of yearning innocence and worldlier emotions that would come to define Spector's greatest work. In addition to the aforementioned classics and the minor hit "Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby," the album features such lesser-known girl-group gems as "I Love You Eddie," "Please Hurt Me," "What A Nice Way to Turn Seventeen" and the one-of-a-kind oddity "Frankenstein Twist," along with an early version "On Broadway," actually recorded before the Drifters' reworked hit version, and an upbeat take on the Carla Thomas chestnut "Gee Whiz."
Cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.
Uptown • Another Country Another World • Frankenstein Twist • Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby • Please Hurt Me • There’s No Other (Like My Baby) • On Broadway • What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen • No One Ever Tells You • Gee Whiz-Look At His Eyes (Twist) • I Love You Eddie