Yakety Yak

For the animated series, see Yakkity Yak. For Ubuntu v16.10, see Yakkety Yak. For the instrumental song, see 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 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

See also


  1. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 125.
  2. 1 2 "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. Yakkity Yak Intro. YouTube. January 12, 2011.
  11. "'Yakety Yak – Take It Back!' Music Video". Take It Back Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  12. "Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Y is for…". www.markshuttleworth.com. Retrieved 2016-11-02.

External links

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