Twyla Herbert

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Twyla Herbert (July 27, 1921 – July 11, 2009)[1] was an American songwriter known for her long songwriting partnership with the singer Lou Christie.


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.[2] 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.[3]


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."[4]

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.[5]

Herbert died in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009, at the age of 87.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Marsh, Dave. The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Page 411. Da Capo Press, 1999.
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Page 193. Billboard Books, 2003.
  4. ^ Lou Christie & The Tammys: Egyptian Shumba Home Page
  5. ^ allmusic ((( The Tammys > Biography )))

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