Chubby Checker - Let's Twist Again (lyrics) HOT!
Hank Ballard grew up singing gospel in church in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama. He had always wanted to sing professionally, and at 16 years of age got a chance to do it when he took over a group called The Royals, which had been organized in 1950 (and among whose original members were Levi Stubbs and Jackie Wilson). Ballard replaced one of the group's singers and immediately began to shift its style from that of smooth, harmonic pop melodies to a grittier R&B-edged, gospel-influenced - and at times quite suggestive - pop style. Their first hit was in 1953 with "Get It," and they had another, bigger hit the next year (by which time they had changed their names to The Midnighters to avoid being confused with another group, The Five Royals) with "Work With Me, Annie", a song that took a lot of heat from religious pressure groups because of its perceived "suggestive" lyrics and was banned from play on many radio stations. Their career stayed on track for another 18 months with several more hit records, but then their popularity began to wane and they didn't have another hit for more than three years. During that time there were numerous personnel changes in the group, and their record company, Federal Records, seemed to be backing away from them and toward a group it had just signed, The Famous Flames, headed by a shouting, hard-charging singer named James Brown. In 1958 Ballard left Federal for VeeJay Records and there he recorded a song he had written, called "The Twist." VeeJay decided not to release it, but King Records--which owned VeeJay--signed the group away from that label and had them rerecord "The Twist" (it was on that record that the group was first billed as "Hank Ballard and the Midnighters" rather than just "The Midnighters", as they had been previously), but released it as the B-side of a ballad called "Teardrops On Your Letter". That song hit #4 on the R&B charts, but "The Twist" also started to get some recognition and airplay. Dick Clark, host of the teenage music/dance show American Bandstand (1952) (aka "American Bandstand"), took a liking to the song and had it recorded by a Philadelphia singer named Ernest Evans (renamed Chubby Checker--a play on R&B legend Fats Domino--by Clark's wife). Checker's version of the song zoomed to the #1 spot in 1960 and started a national "Twist" craze (in an unusual move, it was released again in 1962 and once more soared to the #1 spot). Ballard, rather than resenting Checker's success with his song, decided to capitalize on it and within a few months of the release of Checker's song had three hits in the top 40: "Finger Poppin' Time" (considered by many to be the quintessential Ballard/Midnighters song), "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" and the group's original version of "The Twist." However, by late 1961 the twist craze began to wane, as did Ballard & the Midnighters' record successes, and the group broke up. Ballard continued his career for the next 20 years, sometimes as a solo act and sometimes with different versions of The Midnighters. In 1990 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Chubby Checker - Let's Twist Again (lyrics)