"Harlem Shuffle" is an R&B song written and originally recorded by the duo Bob & Earl in 1963. The tune has been covered by Booker T and the MG's, The Boogie Kings on their self-titled album on the Montel Michelle label (1965), The Fabulous Flippers, a regional band out of Kansas (1966), The Traits, Roy Head's band (Treat her Right) (1967), by John Fred and his Playboy Band on their album Vigon (1967), by The Righteous Brothers on their album Sayin' Somethin (1967), by Bill Deal and the Rhondels (1969), by Johnny and Edgar Winter on their album Together (1976), and by The Belle Stars on their 1983 self-titled album.
More recently, it was covered by The Rolling Stones on their album Dirty Work (1986), "Weird Al" Yankovic (sung as "Harlem Polka") for his polka medley "Polka Party!" (1986), and by the 18.104.22.168's in 2002 on their Teenage Mojo Workout album. Pete Townshend also performed the song with his short-lived bandDeep End.
The original single, co-arranged by Barry White and Gene Page, peaked at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #36 on the Cash Box chart. However, the record was much more successful upon its UK re-release in 1969, making the Top 10 there. It was released on Marc Records, a subsidiary of Titan Records.
|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Dirty Work|
|B-side||"Had It With You"|
|Released||February 28, 1986|
|Recorded||April - October, 1985|
|Genre||Pop rock, dance-rock|
|Length||3:23 (7" single)
6:19 (12" "London Mix") 6:35 (12" "New York Mix")
|Writer(s)||Bob Relf, Earl Nelson|
|Producer(s)||Steve Lillywhite and The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
The Rolling Stones' cover version, with Bobby Womack on backing vocals, appeared on their 1986 album Dirty Work, and went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100chart, and #13 in the UK. Keith Richards had been looking for songs to possibly include on the album and had been working up songs with Ronnie Wood and Womack while waiting for Jagger to return to the studio in Paris after doing promo work on his solo album. To Richards's surprise, Jagger liked the feel and cut the vocals quickly. It became the first cover song the Stones had released as an opening single off a new studio album since 1965. It opens with:
|“||You move it to the left and you go for yourself
You move it to the right yeah if it takes all night Now take it kinda slow with a whole lot of soul.
In 1986, a 12" extended single mix of the song was released. One side contained the "London Mix" and ran 6:19. The other side had a "New York Mix" and ran 6:35. Both mixes were variations of the 7" mix. The "New York Mix" is available on the CD, Rarities 1971–2003, although it has been edited to 5:48. Both full-length 12" versions can be found on Disc 25 of Singles 1971–2006.
The Rolling Stones produced an accompanying three-minute music video, which combined live-action and animation. The live-action was directed by famous animation director Ralph Bakshi and the animation was directed by future The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi. Other animators who also worked on the video included Lynne Naylor, Jim Smith, Bob Jaques, Vicky Jenson, Pat Ventura and two other unknown animators.
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||6|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||13|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||4|
|Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)||4|
|Canada (RPM 100 Singles)||5|
|Germany (Media Control Charts)||11|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||5|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||5|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||1|
|Poland (Polish Singles Chart)||24|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||10|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||13|
|US Billboard Hot 100||5|
|US BillboardHot Dance Club Play1||4|
|US BillboardHot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales1||5|
|US BillboardHot Mainstream Rock Tracks||2|