Yakety Yak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Yakkity Yak or Yakety Sax.
"Yakety Yak"
An album featuring "Yakety Yak"
Single by The Coasters
B-side "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart"
Released April 1958
Format 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Recorded March 17, 1958
Genre Rock and roll
Length 1:52
Label Atco Records 6116
Writer(s) Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Producer(s) Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
The Coasters singles chronology
"Gee, Golly"
"Yakety Yak"
"The Shadow Knows"

"Yakety Yak" is a song written, produced, and arranged by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller for The Coasters and released on Atlantic Records in 1958, spending seven weeks as #1 on the R&B charts and a week as number one on the Top 100 pop list.[1] This song was one of a string of singles released by The Coasters between 1957 and 1959 that dominated the charts, one of the biggest performing acts of the rock and roll era.[2]


The song is a "playlet," a word Stoller used for the glimpses into teenage life that characterized the songs Leiber and Stoller wrote and produced.[3] The lyrics describe the listing of household chores to a kid, presumably a teenager, the teenager's response ("yakety yak") and the parents' retort ("don't talk back") — an experience very familiar to a middle-class teenager of the day. Leiber has said the Coasters portrayed "a white kid’s view of a black person’s conception of white society."[2] The serio-comic street-smart “playlets” etched out by the songwriters were sung by the Coasters with a sly clowning humor, while the screaming saxophone of King Curtis filled in hot, honking bursts in the up-tempo doo-wop style. The group was openly "theatrical" in style—they were not pretending to be expressing their own experience.[4]

The threatened punishment for not taking out the garbage and sweeping the floor is, in the song's humorous lyrics:[5]

"You ain't gonna rock and roll no more,"

And the refrain is:

"Yakety yak; don't talk back."[6]

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 125. 
  2. ^ a b "The Coasters". Rock Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  3. ^ Anthony DeCurtis, & James Henke (eds) (1980). The RollingStone: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music ((3rd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Random House, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-679-73728-6. 
  4. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (April 13, 2005). "Yakety Yak". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  5. ^ Friedlander, Paul (1996). Rock and Roll: A social history. Boulder, CO: Westview Press (Harper Collins). p. 66. ISBN 0-8133-2725-3. 
  6. ^ Leiber & Stoller interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  7. ^ Boots Randolph, Boots Randolph's Yakety Sax! Retrieved February 6, 2015
  8. ^ "The Show Band that Wouldn't Die". Houston Press, June 30, 2005.
  9. ^ "The Great Outdoors (1988) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  10. ^ "'Yakety Yak – Take It Back!' Music Video". Take It Back Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 

External links[edit]