The Paul McCartney Project

Pinwheel Twist

Written by Lennon - McCartneyUnreleased song
Timeline This song has been recorded in 1962
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1962 (Paul McCartney was 20 years old)

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Song facts

From Early Beatles Songs:

The ‘twist’ craze had broken out in 1962, and it seems McCartney fancied writing one of his own twist songs. According to local performer Earl Preston, “Pinwheel Twist” was written off-the-cuff on March 22 at the Cavern. That night there happened to be a twist act supporting the Beatles, and McCartney supposedly wrote “Pinwheel Twist” in the ‘bandroom’ (what passed for backstage in the cellar), premiering it to the audience that very night. The result was reputedly mediocre (as one might expect) with an incongruous waltz section in the middle.

Nevertheless, it endured for a little while. It is perhaps a measure of McCartney’s own estimation of the song that it was soon given over to Pete Best for his live vocal spot. Best has since recalled some of the lines, as follows: “Pinwheel twist going round and round / Pinwheel twist going round and round / Pinwheel twist going round and round / Hey, pinwheel twist”. 

Mark Lewisohn has since identified further lyrics, recalled from fans who saw the song performed: “We’ll twist, we’ll pinwheel / Do the spin wheel / Right away, night and day, [at this point, Paul calls out: ‘two-three’] / Well come on everybody and do the shimmy-shimmy / While you’re dancing to and fro – like this! / Everybody’s doing the Pinwheel Twist.”

Average it might have been, but when Brian Epstein drew up a list of 30 tracks to take into EMI for the group’s first proper recording session, “Pinwheel Twist” was on it, noted as a McCartney vocal and indicating that Epstein thought it had something going for it (if only by tapping into a fashion). In the end the list of 30 songs was whittled down to four, “Pinwheel Twist” not among them. The track has never been heard since. (That list of 30 songs included seven Lennon-McCartney originals. All have made it to vinyl bar this one.)

As a footnote, there was one other significant spin-off from the twist craze: the release of the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout”, which the Beatles incorporated into their live act during the year.

In scanning through Mark Lewishon’s The Complete Beatles’ Chronicle, 
I came across a reference to a special appearence at the cavern Club, put onby the Fan Club. In the book, he describes how the Beatles played the first part of the date in their old leather suits, then sweitched to the Beno Dorn suits & ties. There is a photo of Pete Best up front & Paul on the drums, and he says that they were singing an unreleased Lennon/ McCartney composition “Pinwheel Twist”…… 

Paul wrote the song and asked me to do it. He coupled it with Joey Dee’s hit The Peppermint Twist. I used to get up and do the twist on stage and Paul played my drums. It was a little novelty act and it went down well with the fans.

Pete Best

Last updated on February 10, 2019


We'll twist
We'll pinwheel
Do the spin wheel
Right away, night and day

Well come on everybody and do the shimmy-shimmy
While you're dancing to and fro – like this!
Everybody's doing the Pinwheel Twist.

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Alan Naldrett 6 months ago

This was Pete Best's song to sing, written by Paul in the vein of "Peppermint Twist." Pete would come out front, Paul would play drums, and George would play bass.

The PaulMcCartney Project 6 months ago

Thanks Alan !