Our top 10 Twisted Sister songs list takes a look at a Long Island, New York based band who got their start as a cover band and then finally hit it big after years of working the rock club circuit. On Long Island, there was an extremely popular rock club scene in which clubs like The Mad Hatter, OBI’s Cheers, Hammerheads and so many more were filled nightly with young fans and a ton of great rock groups playing three to five sets a night. Bands like Zebra, Rat Race Choir, The Good Rats etc…. put on amazing rock shows. The scene died out in the early 1980s when New York changed its drinking age from 18 to 21 and began putting pictures on driver’s licenses. It was no longer easy to be 15 or 16 and get into a club with a fake proof anymore.
I saw Twisted Sister many times in the clubs in the mid to late 1970s. The one memory that will never fade was when the band was playing at the Mad Hatter of Stony Brook and right next door to the club was a Lowes movie theater playing the film Saturday Night Fever. There were two musical acts on Long Island in the late 1970s that hated disco with a passion. One was the great Jimi Lalumia and the Psychotic Frogs who had a hit with the song “Disco Sucks,” which was an angry parody of Rick Dee’s awful hit “Disco Duck.” And of course, there was Twisted Sister. Playing next door to a theater that was presenting Saturday Night Fever had really fired up Dee Snider that one particle night. I had seen the band utilize their Disco Sucks chants before, but that one night Dee Snider had called out for the crowd to not only chant “Disco Sucks,” but to bang on the walls screaming as loud as we could to disturb the people viewing the movie right next door. There was an incredible anti-disco sentiment among rock fans and Dee Snider and Twisted Sister along with Jimi Lalumia led the way.
It was easy to see the passion that the band had to make it big. That burning desire led the band to leave New York in the early 1980s for the United Kingdom. It was a smart move because the band signed its first record contract in the UK with Secret Records. After that label went out of business, Twister Sister signed with Atlantic Records. Two years later, in 1984, Twisted Sister would become a household name when their third album Stay Hungry became an international hit. Catapulted by the success of the singles “We’re Not Gonna Take it,” and “I Wanna Rock,” Twisted Sister had made the big time at last.
The band Twisted Sister had gone through many changes during their nightclub years. The group had been around as early as 1973. Anyone who has ever worked as a musician in a bar band will attest to having to constantly audition new musicians as the late night hours and insanity of the bar scene is simply not for everyone. However, during the course of their great run in the 1980s when the band celebrated a series of fantastic rock and roll album releases, the band was pretty consistent form a personal standpoint. During that period Twisted Sister consisted of Dee Snider on lead vocals, Eddie Ojeda on lead guitar, Jay Jay French on rhythm and lead guitars, Mark Mendoza on bass and A.J. Pero on drums.
Below is a list of ten of our favorite Twisted Sister songs. There are many more than just ten but having to choose only ten is what makes writing these articles so much fun. This one is also a little personal as Twisted Sister was the first bar band that I ever witnessed make it to the big time.
# 10 – Be Chrool To Your Scruel
We open up our top 10 Twisted Sister song with a song from the band’s follow up album to their mega hit record Stay Hungry. The song “Be Chrool To Your Scruel,” was released on their album Come Out and Play. The album title seemed to pay homage to the iconic scene in the 1979 motion picture The Warriors when actor David Patrck Kelly was clanging those two bottles together trying to edge on the Warriors gang to show themselves out in the open. In fact, Dee Snider re-created that scene in the video for the albums’ title track “Come Out and Play.” Although Dee Snider shouted for Twisted Sister to come out and play instead of The Warriors.
“Be Chrool To Your Scruel,” was released as the album’s second single in Europe. It was never released as a single in the U.S. The song featured some major rock star guest appearances such as Alice Cooper who sang vocals on the song with Dee Snider. Billy Joel played piano on the track, Brian Setzer played guitar and Clarence Clemons and the Uptown Horns adding a great horn section. Imagine playing in bars for so many years while covering those songs of those artists and then all of a sudden, your recording with your them. Sadly, MTV refused to play the video and so many people never got to hear the song or learn about that amazing collaboration between Twisted Sister and all those great rock and rollers. The zombie based video is great and it feature the very original talents of Bobcat Goldthwait in the opening segment long with a great cameo by Tom Savini. How perfect was it to get Alice Cooper to sing on a song about school. These guys were really smart in the way they handled so many aspects of their career.
# 9 – I’ll Never Grow Up Now
We could not compose a Top 10 Twisted Sisters songs list without including the band’s first single release of their career. The classic Twisted Sister song “I’ll Never Grow Up,” was first released as a stand alone single in 1979. The song would eventually find its way onto one of the band’s albums when it was included on the 1985 reissue of the band’s first album Under The Blade which had originally came out in 1982.
# 8 – What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)
Continuing with our top 10 Twisted Sister songs list we turn once again to the band’s first album Under The Blade. This was such a great record. It is probably our favorite Twisted Sister album. Bands like Twisted Sister who spend so many years trying to make it usually do not fool around when it comes time to releasing their first album. Many songs on band’s first records had been performed for years in the clubs. The song “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You),” was the album’s opening track. This song and album rocked hard. Love the song’s opening guitar riff and “Good Evening welcome to our show!”
# 7 – The Price
The song “The Price,” was the third single released from the band’s biggest selling album titled Stay Hungry. The album sold over three million copies in the United States alone. There was quite a long distance of time between the release of the album’s first single “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” which was released in April of 1984 and the “The Price,” which was issued in December of 1984. The song became a top 20 hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts in the United States in 1985. This was great mid temp ballad that really showed off everyone’s great musical chops.
# 6 – I Am (I’m Me)
The song “I Am (I’m Me),” was released on the band’s second album You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll. The song was released as the second single from the album in the United Kingdom. Want to know why these guys finally made it when they arrived n the UK? Check out this video from the British show Top of the Pop below. They went nuts over Twisted Sister over there on the eastern side of the Atlantic.
# 5 – Bad Boys Of Rock and Roll
The great song “Bad Boys Of Rock and Roll,” appeared on the band’s first album Under The Blade. The song originally appeared on Long Island FM rock station WBAB’s Homegrown album (see more info about this below) The album Under The Blade was produced by Pete Way of the great UK band UFO.
# 4 – Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Obviously, Twister Sister did not compose this Christmas classic. However, their version of it was stunning! The band released a very cool record entitled A Twisted Christmas during their reunion in 2006. The album proved to be extremely successful for the band. The group released three singles from the album. Twisted Sister also performed the song “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno about two weeks before Christmas in 2006. It was nice to see Twisted Sister back together again and causing a whole lot of chaos on television. It was perfect.
# 3 – You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll
Long Island New York was not only the home to an incredible night club scene in the 1970s and early 80s, the Island also had some great rock and roll radio stations. WBAB was an extremely popular rock station located in the town of Babylon. The station was known to heavily promote local bands and clubs. Morning host Bob Buchman, and many of the other jocks including our favorites Bernie Bernard, Mark …..Ralph Totara, were always promoting some of the Long Island bands in trying to help them secure a record deal. They had successfully helped the band Zebra who were originally from New Orleans but had made their home on Long Island secure a record deal with Atlantic Records.
One of the ways in which WBAB promoted the live Long Island music scene in the clubs was by releasing a series of albums in which many of the Long Island bands contributed original songs to be included on those records. The Twisted Sister song ‘You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll,” appeared on the second WBAB release entitled Son of Homegrown. It was nice to have original music to play at home of the bands that we all went to see at the clubs every night. This one got a lot of spins.
Twisted Sister re-recorded the song ‘You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll,” for their second album that was released in 1983. The song was such a powerful anthem that the band decided to use the song’s title as also the album’s title.
# 2 – I Wanna Rock
If we had to pick one video from the MTV era of the 1980s that we could watch over and over again and never get tired of, we would choose the classic Twisted Sister video for their iconic song “I Wanna Rock.” The opening scene is simply legendary. Nonetheless, we did not just list the song this high because of the video. The hook in this song is to die for. It also defines one of Dee Sniders great vocal performances on record. The band is on fire on this one. Simply, great stuff.
# 1 – We’re Not Gonna Take It
We close out our top 10 Twisted Sister Songs list with the biggest hit of the band’s career entitled “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The song was released on the band’s 1984 album called Stay Hungry. The song hit number twenty one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. Its one thing to score a record deal, its an even bigger thing to score a hit. However, it is about a one in a hundred million chance of releasing a song that becomes an anthem for generations. There are not that many, but “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” is definitely one of them.