Discussion:
The Number Ones: Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”
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Bob Roman
2018-12-03 21:42:13 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Chubby Checker’s “The Twist
HIT #1: September 19, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks (nonconsecutive)

There’s a scene in the first season of Mad Men where most of the staff underlings from Sterling Cooper are out at a restaurant when somebody plays “The Twist” on a jukebox. Every woman who works in the office whoops with glee, and pretty soon the entire office is dancing together. (Two things in that scene that I didn’t realize were possible: seductive twisting and hearbreakingly forlorn twisting.) If you’ve lived your entire life hearing “The Twist” at grade-school dances or weddings or on oldies radio, it’s weird to imagine that song triggering that kind of hysteria when it was still fresh. But I believe it.

“The Twist” is a foundational dance-craze record, a key part of a noble tradition that includes “The Loco-Motion,” “The Hustle,” “The Macarena,” and “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” all of which will eventually end up in this column. And as a dance-craze record, “The Twist” had different goals to accomplish than most pop songs. It didn’t have to tell a story or speak to the vagaries of young love or pile harmonies on top of each other in arresting ways. It just had to pound hard and communicate excitement. It had to get people out on the floor. It had to have a good beat, and you had to be able to dance to it. “The Twist” did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Even more than most of the songs that end up in this column, “The Twist” has a convoluted history. Originally written by Hank Ballard and recorded by his band Hank Ballard And The Midnighters, “The Twist” was a big regional dance record even though it was only a B-side. A Baltimore dance-show host named Buddy Deane (the inspiration for Corny Collins, from John Waters’ Hairspray) recommended the song to Dick Clark; Clark liked it, but he didn’t think Ballard was approachable enough to feature on American Bandstand. So he went out and found someone else to sing it.

Ernest Evans was born in South Carolina and grew up in the projects of Philadelphia, where Bandstand was filmed. As a teenager, he sang while he worked at a poultry market, doing impressions of famous singers. He auditioned for Clark, and Clark’s wife gave him his stage name. (It’s a parody of Fats Domino’s name.) Clark knocked out his own version of the song quickly, and it hit #1 a week after he performed it live for the first time. It took fairly byzantine string of events, then, to bring a simple song like that to the world.

Checker’s version of the song is a whole lot like Ballard’s, right down to the opening drum crack. The whole song is just about dancing; there’s barely even any innuendo in there. Checker’s got a big, barrel-chested, charismatic howl of a voice, and he pushes the insistent groove forward. He makes twisting sound like the most fun thing in the world. He sells it.

Initially, “The Twist” was only #1 for a week. But twisting stuck around, becoming more and more popular in the years that followed. A couple of years after the song first hit #1, celebrities were doing it, and entire clubs like New York’s Peppermint Lounge were devoted entirely to twisting. And “The Twist” returned to #1 for two more weeks, the first time anything like that had ever happened.

GRADE: 8/10
SavoyBG
2018-12-03 23:22:46 UTC
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He thinks that Hank Ballard and the Midnighters were a band. And he stages it as if Checker never made a record "The Twist."
SavoyBG
2018-12-03 23:23:49 UTC
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I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
Bill B
2018-12-04 11:18:11 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
SavoyBG
2018-12-04 13:32:50 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
Bill B
2018-12-04 14:13:13 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
SavoyBG
2018-12-04 15:10:36 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-12-04 16:00:04 UTC
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:)
Bill B
2018-12-04 16:46:03 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you have ever taken here.
SavoyBG
2018-12-04 22:05:03 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.

My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision, that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-04 22:18:37 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough
to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters'
catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie,"
"Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered
inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join
the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he
regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records,
I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was
out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you
must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the
basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and
Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard &
the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you
have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking
that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying
that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for
Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision,
that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I think you're right, though in those days the risque aspect of r&b was
probably inseparable from the racial aspect.
--
--md
_________
Remove xx's from address to reply
SavoyBG
2018-12-05 01:54:02 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough
to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters'
catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie,"
"Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered
inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join
the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he
regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records,
I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was
out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you
must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the
basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and
Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard &
the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you
have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking
that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying
that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for
Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision,
that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I think you're right, though in those days the risque aspect of r&b was
probably inseparable from the racial aspect.
But the Ballard records in question were already 6 years old in 1960. And after like 1955 there were no more Ballard hits that were risque. Besides, in 1954 when the Ballard stuff was out I think Clark was mainly playing pop chart hits and may not have even known the R&B hits. Bandstand in 1954 and 1955 was still very pop with the occasional Bill Haley hit. I don't think that they had a lot of rock and roll until at least the spring of 1956 when Elvis hit bug.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-05 02:01:41 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
But the Ballard records in question were already 6 years old in 1960. And
after like 1955 there were no more Ballard hits that were risque. Besides, in
1954 when the Ballard stuff was out I think Clark was mainly playing pop
chart hits and may not have even known the R&B hits. Bandstand in 1954 and
1955 was still very pop with the occasional Bill Haley hit. I don't think
that they had a lot of rock and roll until at least the spring of 1956 when
Elvis hit bug.
Depends on where you lived. R'n'r was already beg in several places but
for much of the country it began with "Rock Around the Clock" and
became big only after "Heartbreak Hotel."
--
--md
_________
Remove xx's from address to reply
Bill B
2018-12-05 11:53:30 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
In article <> >
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough
to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters'
catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie,"
"Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered
inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join
the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he
regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records,
I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was
out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you
must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the
basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and
Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard &
the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you
have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking
that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying
that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for
Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision,
that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I think you're right, though in those days the risque aspect of r&b was
probably inseparable from the racial aspect.
But the Ballard records in question were already 6 years old in 1960. And after like 1955 there were no more Ballard hits that were risque. Besides, in 1954 when the Ballard stuff was out I think Clark was mainly playing pop chart hits and may not have even known the R&B hits. Bandstand in 1954 and 1955 was still very pop with the occasional Bill Haley hit. I don't think that they had a lot of rock and roll until at least the spring of 1956 when Elvis hit bug.
Clark had the man himself, as well as the Midnighters, on Bandstand on June 22, 1960 singing "Finger Poppin' Time." Guess they weren't too black for a white audience at the time of "The Twist" as you postulated. And your theory is disproved.

Here's a very interesting link to the performers and songs by episode for American Bandstand:

http://www.tv.com/shows/american-bandstand/episodes/

The episodes begin in 1957, not 1952, perhaps because it wasn't called American Bandstand until then.
Bill B
2018-12-05 12:42:41 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Clark had the man himself, as well as the Midnighters, on Bandstand on June 22, 1960 singing "Finger Poppin' Time." Guess they weren't too black for a white audience at the time of "The Twist" as you postulated. And your theory is disproved.
Mine too. Probably Breihan's also. It was probably Clark's "close" relationship with Cameo Parkway that resulted in Checker's recording.
SavoyBG
2018-12-05 12:53:48 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
In article <> >
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough
to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters'
catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie,"
"Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered
inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join
the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he
regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records,
I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was
out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you
must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the
basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and
Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard &
the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you
have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking
that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying
that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for
Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision,
that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I think you're right, though in those days the risque aspect of r&b was
probably inseparable from the racial aspect.
But the Ballard records in question were already 6 years old in 1960. And after like 1955 there were no more Ballard hits that were risque. Besides, in 1954 when the Ballard stuff was out I think Clark was mainly playing pop chart hits and may not have even known the R&B hits. Bandstand in 1954 and 1955 was still very pop with the occasional Bill Haley hit. I don't think that they had a lot of rock and roll until at least the spring of 1956 when Elvis hit bug.
Clark had the man himself, as well as the Midnighters, on Bandstand on June 22, 1960 singing "Finger Poppin' Time." Guess they weren't too black for a white audience at the time of "The Twist" as you postulated. And your theory is disproved.
Okay, so it couldn't be the risque songs either, so what does "approachable" mean?

this schmuck bREIHAN probably made that up and the real story is that Clark got a piece of something by taking it to Parkway rather than playing the King version. Maybe Clark wasn't anti-black as much as he was pro green.
Roger Ford
2018-12-05 13:37:56 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
On Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 5:18:42 PM UTC-5, Mark Dintenfass wrote=
In article <> >
On Monday, December 3, 2018 at 6:23:50 PM UTC-5, SavoyB=
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptabl=
e enough
to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighte=
rs'
catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me A=
nnie,"
"Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been consid=
ered
inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did =
not join
the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records=
=2E
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 195=
2 and he
regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these r=
ecords,
I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's reco=
rd was
out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in th=
e 50s you
must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia=
?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do wit=
h the
basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll =
DJ and
Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank =
Ballard &
the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positio=
ns you
have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not =
thinking
that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. =
I'm saying
that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "b=
lack" for
Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his=
decision,
that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I think you're right, though in those days the risque aspect of r&b w=
as
probably inseparable from the racial aspect.
But the Ballard records in question were already 6 years old in 1960. A=
nd after like 1955 there were no more Ballard hits that were risque. Beside=
s, in 1954 when the Ballard stuff was out I think Clark was mainly playing =
pop chart hits and may not have even known the R&B hits. Bandstand in 1954 =
and 1955 was still very pop with the occasional Bill Haley hit. I don't thi=
nk that they had a lot of rock and roll until at least the spring of 1956 w=
hen Elvis hit bug.
Clark had the man himself, as well as the Midnighters, on Bandstand on Ju=
ne 22, 1960 singing "Finger Poppin' Time." Guess they weren't too black for=
a white audience at the time of "The Twist" as you postulated. And your th=
eory is disproved.
Okay, so it couldn't be the risque songs either, so what does "approachable=
" mean?
this schmuck bREIHAN probably made that up and the real story is that Clark=
got a piece of something by taking it to Parkway rather than playing the K=
ing version. Maybe Clark wasn't anti-black as much as he was pro green.
Spencer Leigh in his 2003 UK newspaper obituary of Hank Ballard
mentions that Ballard was invited to perform (lip sync to) the song on
"American Bandstand" but was rebuffed by Clark when Ballard wanted to
include the Midnighters and demanded additional payment.

Clark then approached Danny & The Juniors to cut a version of "The
Twist" and when this was not forthcoming the song was passed to Chubby
Checker by way of Clark's contact wiith Cameo-Parkway.

And the rest is history.

ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Roger Ford
2018-12-05 13:52:06 UTC
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Here is the ACTUAL original version of "The Twist" recorded in 1958
by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters BEFORE the King version



Generally known as "The Vee Jay version" this is the original version
since it was recorded first (before the different King label release
of the song) although it was never released at the time---in fact it
was never released until decades later (and then on some Japanese
album).

It seems that Ballard---whose contract was nearing its end----fully
expected to be dropped by King in 1958 since the Midnighters record
sales had been in decline for awhile.

So believing he would be a free agent within weeks,he cut a demo of
"The Twist" for Henry Stone in Florida in March 1958. Stone did a deal
that saw the master wind up with Vee Jay in Chicago but before Vee Jay
could do anything King unexpectedly renewed the contract of Ballard &
The Midnighters (even "upgrading" them to the parent King label from
their Federal subsidary) ----so rendering the whole Vee Jay deal
stillborn.


ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!

Bill B
2018-12-04 22:41:52 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision, that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I have no problem with this. It could well be true. I was disagreeing with your doubting that Clark ever heard of those risqué records.

But how do you explain Hank Ballard was "too black" but Little Richard was not?
SavoyBG
2018-12-05 01:50:34 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
I guess this guy uses "approachable" to mean "acceptable enough to white people."
More likely, he was influenced by Ballard & the Midnighters' catalog before "The Twist." Songs such as "Work With Me Annie," "Annie Had A Baby" and "Sexy Ways" would have been considered inappropriate for Bandstand.
Don't think so. Those records were from 1954 and Clark did not join the show until 1956. I doubt he ever heard of those records.
He was a disk jockey on a show similar to Bandstand since 1952 and he regularly substituted on the TV show. If I knew about these records, I'm pretty sure he knew about them by the time Checker's record was out.
Yes, judging by all of the black kids dancing on the show in the 50s you must be right. Maybe there were no black people in Philadelphia?
What's the racial composition of Bandstand dancers have to do with the basic question? Are you seriously maintaining that a Rock & Roll DJ and Rock & Roll TV show host for eight years had never heard of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters? If so, that's one of the more ridiculous positions you have ever taken here.
I'm claiming that his risque records had nothing to with Clark not thinking that they were "approachable." Whether he knew those songs or not. I'm saying that Ballard's music, look, style, and that of the group was too "black" for Clark to want to use them to promote the new dance.
My contention is that the risque records had nothing to do with his decision, that it was all about them being too black for his audience.
I have no problem with this. It could well be true. I was disagreeing with your doubting that Clark ever heard of those risqué records.
But how do you explain Hank Ballard was "too black" but Little Richard was not?
Sometimes an act is so much in demand that they have to give in and have him on regardless. But Richard's music and his schtick were not as black as Ballard. I doubt that Richard got on the show until 1956 after a couple of big hits. I'd be surprised if he was on bandstand already in 1955.
SavoyBG
2018-12-03 23:28:34 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
And “The Twist” returned to #1 for two more weeks, the first time anything like that had ever happened.
Afraid not. "White Christmas" by Crosby first reached number one in 1942 and then did it again in 1945.
Roger Ford
2018-12-04 06:07:41 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hi=
t #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
And =E2=80=9CThe Twist=E2=80=9D returned to #1 for two more weeks, the fi=
rst time anything like that had ever happened.
Afraid not. "White Christmas" by Crosby first reached number one in 1942 an=
d then did it again in 1945.
It was #1 again in 1946 too but that was the newer recording of the
song and the version that is generally played on radio at the seasonal
time today

ROGER FORD
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Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-04 01:25:33 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Chubby Checker¹s ³The Twist
HIT #1: September 19, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks (nonconsecutive)
There¹s a scene in the first season of Mad Men where most of the staff
underlings from Sterling Cooper are out at a restaurant when somebody plays
³The Twist² on a jukebox. Every woman who works in the office whoops with
glee, and pretty soon the entire office is dancing together. (Two things in
that scene that I didn¹t realize were possible: seductive twisting and
hearbreakingly forlorn twisting.) If you¹ve lived your entire life hearing
³The Twist² at grade-school dances or weddings or on oldies radio, it¹s weird
to imagine that song triggering that kind of hysteria when it was still
fresh. But I believe it.
³The Twist² is a foundational dance-craze record, a key part of a noble
tradition that includes ³The Loco-Motion,² ³The Hustle,² ³The Macarena,² and
³Crank That (Soulja Boy),² all of which will eventually end up in this
column. And as a dance-craze record, ³The Twist² had different goals to
accomplish than most pop songs. It didn¹t have to tell a story or speak to
the vagaries of young love or pile harmonies on top of each other in
arresting ways. It just had to pound hard and communicate excitement. It had
to get people out on the floor. It had to have a good beat, and you had to be
able to dance to it. ³The Twist² did exactly what it was supposed to do.
Even more than most of the songs that end up in this column, ³The Twist² has
a convoluted history. Originally written by Hank Ballard and recorded by his
band Hank Ballard And The Midnighters, ³The Twist² was a big regional dance
record even though it was only a B-side. A Baltimore dance-show host named
Buddy Deane (the inspiration for Corny Collins, from John Waters¹ Hairspray)
recommended the song to Dick Clark; Clark liked it, but he didn¹t think
Ballard was approachable enough to feature on American Bandstand. So he went
out and found someone else to sing it.
Ernest Evans was born in South Carolina and grew up in the projects of
Philadelphia, where Bandstand was filmed. As a teenager, he sang while he
worked at a poultry market, doing impressions of famous singers. He
auditioned for Clark, and Clark¹s wife gave him his stage name. (It¹s a
parody of Fats Domino¹s name.) Clark knocked out his own version of the song
quickly, and it hit #1 a week after he performed it live for the first time.
It took fairly byzantine string of events, then, to bring a simple song like
that to the world.
Checker¹s version of the song is a whole lot like Ballard¹s, right down to
the opening drum crack. The whole song is just about dancing; there¹s barely
even any innuendo in there. Checker¹s got a big, barrel-chested, charismatic
howl of a voice, and he pushes the insistent groove forward. He makes
twisting sound like the most fun thing in the world. He sells it.
Initially, ³The Twist² was only #1 for a week. But twisting stuck around,
becoming more and more popular in the years that followed. A couple of years
after the song first hit #1, celebrities were doing it, and entire clubs like
New York¹s Peppermint Lounge were devoted entirely to twisting. And ³The
Twist² returned to #1 for two more weeks, the first time anything like that had ever happened.
GRADE: 8/10
Well, he doesn't quite embarrass himself here, but he missed--this
critic who likes to talk about social significance--that "The Twist"
had celebrities dancing to it because it led directly to the first true
r'n'r fad for grownups. Sure, some grownups in 1960 liked Elvis, but
only with "The Twist" did r'n'r become more than just teenager music,
especially after news got out that the Kennedy crowd was twistin' in
the White House. Only then did r'n'r go from being music for "cretins"
and "juvenile delinquents" (as Sinatra said), but music that even the
"sophisticates" felt licensed to enjoy.
--
--md
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Roger Ford
2018-12-04 07:21:43 UTC
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On Mon, 3 Dec 2018 13:42:13 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Chubby Checker=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CThe Twist
HIT #1: September 19, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks (nonconsecutive)
As Bruce points out Breihan seems totally unaware that Checker had
records out before "The Twist" including the Top 40 "imitations" hit
"The Class" in 1959. It was this song that so impressed Dick Clark (he
had used the demo as an audio Christmas card to send to his friends)
that he kept Checker in mind. He also kept Hank Ballard's song "The
Twist" in mind and suggested to Cameo-Parkway that if they had the
more local lad Checker do a version of it then "Bandstand" would get
right behind the record. A total no-brainer!

The resulting recording (backed by The Dreamlovers of "When We Get
Married" fame) was so close to the original that Ballard reportedly
thought it was his own version when he first heard it on the radio.

And of course Checker became only the second artist in history (after
Crosby and "White Christmas") to RETURN to the #1 slot again later
with the same record as the twist dance became even more popular the
second time around in 1961 (tho over here in UK it was the sequel
"Let's Twist Again" that went to #1 in 1962)

Later,after successfully working his way through a stack of different
dances for followup records (The Pony,The Mess Around,The Fly etc )
Checker even cracked the Northern Soul market big time with a couple
of records that sold hugely for us in our London store---"Cu Ma La Be
Stay" and "(At The) Discotheque"

Thanks Chubby!!

Here's how he did in the 1960 Singles Battle with "The Twist"

R1
6 The Elegants - Little Boy Blue - Hull 732
25 Chubby Checker - The Twist - Parkway 811
R2
14 Howlin' Wolf - Wang Dang Doodle - Chess 1777
19 Chubby Checker - The Twist - Parkway 811
R3
22 Chubby Checker - The Twist - Parkway 811
14 Etta James - I Just Want To Make Love To You - Argo 5380
R4
24 Chubby Checker - The Twist - Parkway 811
11 The Platters - Harbor Lights - Mercury 71563
R5>
9 Chubby Checker - The Twist - Parkway 811
25 Ray Charles - Georgia On My Mind - ABC-Paramount 10135
ROGER FORD
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