Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The Twist

Written and first recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (US #28 1959).
Based on “Is Your Love For Real” by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (1957).
Other hit version by Chubby Checker (US #1 1960/US #1 1962).

From the wiki: “The Midnighters’ Hank Ballard and Cal Green had already had written a song together called ‘Is Your Love for Real’, which was released in 1957 with no apparent chart success, so they created an entirely new song by simply putting new ‘twist’ words to the older melody. ‘The Twist’ was originally released in early 1959 by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters as a B-side (to ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’) and this version was only a moderate 1960 hit, peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. But, the song, and the dance the Twist, was further popularized in 1960 when the song was covered by Chubby Checker. His single became a hit, reaching #1 in September 1960.

“In 1962, the Twist craze belatedly caught on in High Society. Citings (and sightings) of celebrities doing the dance made the song a hit with adults, particularly after a report in the Cholly Knickerbocker gossip column. Soon there were long lines at the Peppermint Lounge nightclub in New York, the most popular celebrity twisting spot. This new interest placed ‘The Twist’ atop the Hot 100 – again; the only recording to hit #1 on the US charts during two separate chart runs. It also marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.”

Hank Ballard, “Is Your Love For Real” (1957):

Chubby Checker, “The Twist” (1960):

1 comment for “The Twist

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