Shout – Who Really Sings It?

As a professional wedding DJ, if I had to pick one song that seems to be a crowd pleaser for guests of all ages and levels of dance skill, I would have to say it would be the song “Shout.”  Young kids, grandparents, teenagers, 30-somethings… you name it, all rub elbows together on the dance floor and throw their hands in the air in perfect synchronization as they hear “You know you make me want to SHOUT.”  Where did this popular song come from, you may ask?

The song was recorded by the Isley Brothers and was released in 1959, but was not originally intended as a single or expected to be a hit song.  The Isleys wrote this on the spur of the moment at a Washington, D.C. concert in mid-1959. As they performed Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” Ronald Isley ad-libbed, “WELLLLLLLLLLL… you know you make me want to SHOUT”.  The Isley Brothers did not consider this a song at first.  It was just a “thing” they would do onstage that was similar to the types of songs they grew up singing in church.  This call-and-response style song drove audiences wild.  So much so, in fact, that RCA executive Howard Bloom suggested putting “Shout” out as their first RCA single.

The song appealed to a brand new audience when it was covered by the fictional band, Otis Day and the Knights, in the 1978 movie Animal House. Otis Day was played by DeWayne Jessie, an actor and younger brother of R&B singer Young Jessie who sang with The Flairs and the Coasters.  The vocals were actually recorded by artist Lloyd Williams, but the musical and visual performances were so unforgettable, that many moviegoers assumed that Otis Day and the Knights was a real group.  In fact, the “band” received so much recognition for this performance that they made the transition from fictional band, to real life band and continue to tour to this day.  “Even my siblings call me Otis,” says Jessie.

To view that classic scene from Animal House that brought new life to “Shout” and has helped make the song a fixture at weddings, birthdays, and college parties, click here.