Herbert was born in Riverside, California. Christie was 15 years old when he met Herbert, a "bohemian gypsy, psychic, and former concert pianist," at an audition in a church basement in his hometown, Glenwillard, Pennsylvania. Over 20 years older than he was, with flaming red hair, she was a self-described clairvoyant and mystic who allegedly predicted which of their songs would become hits.
The pair co-wrote the great majority of Christie's hits, including "The Gypsy Cried," "Two Faces Have I," "Rhapsody in the Rain," "She Sold Me Magic," and most famously, "Lightnin' Strikes," a song later covered by such artists as Del Shannon and Klaus Nomi. Christie discussed their songwriting relationship: "Twyla is a genius. She was going to be a concert pianist but we started writing rock 'n' roll. The hardest part was that we had too many ideas. If we wanted to write a song, it would never stop."
Herbert and Christie also composed for his backup singers, a girl group named the Tammys, a handful of songs, including the eccentric single, "Egyptian Shumba," which with its over-the-top, savage vocals and faux-Middle Eastern melody, has become a cult classic.
Herbert died in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009, at the age of 87.
- Marsh, Dave. The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Page 411. Da Capo Press, 1999.
- Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Page 193. Billboard Books, 2003.
- Lou Christie & The Tammys: Egyptian Shumba Home Page
- allmusic ((( The Tammys > Biography )))