Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Hank Ballard & The Midnighters

Dance (Roll) with Me, Henry

First recorded and co-written (as “The Wallflower”) by Etta James (R&B #1 1955).
Other hit version (as “Dance with Me, Henry”) by Georgia Gibbs (US #1 1955).
Re-recorded (as “Dance with Me, Henry”) by Etta James (1958).

From the wiki:”‘The Wallflower’ (also known as ‘Roll with Me, Henry’ and ‘Dance with Me, Henry’) was one of several answer songs to ‘Work with Me, Annie’, by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. Written by Johnny Otis (‘Willie and the Hand Jive‘), Hank Ballard (‘The Twist‘) and Etta James, James recorded ‘The Wallflower’ for Modern Records, with uncredited vocal responses from Richard Berry (‘Louie, Louie‘). It became a R&B hit, James’ first, topping the U.S. R&B chart for 4 weeks. In 2008, James received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her original 1955 recording.

The Twist

Written and first recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (early 1958, released 1993)
First released by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (B-side US #28/R&B #16 November 1958 |A-side re-release US #28/R&B #6 1960).
Based on “Is Your Love For Real” by The Midnighters (1957).
Other hit version by Chubby Checker (US #1/R&B #2/UK #44/AUS #20 1960 |US #1/R&B #4/UK #14/AUS #3 1962).

From the wiki: “Songs about doing ‘the twist’ date back to nineteenth-century minstrelsy, including ‘Grape Vine Twist’ from around 1844. In 1938 Jelly Roll Morton, in ‘Winin’ Boy Blues’, sang, ‘Mama, mama, look at sis, she’s out on the levee doing the double twist’ – a reference to both sex and dancing in those days.

“In 1957, the Midnighters’ Hank Ballard and Cal Green had already had written a song together called ‘Is Your Love for Real’, which they released with no apparent chart success. So, they used ‘Is Your Love for Real’ as the template for a new song by simply putting new words to the older melody and retitling it ‘The Twist’. (‘The Twist’ would, in turn, serve as the template for the Midnighters’ first Top-10 pop hit, ‘Finger Poppin’ Time’ [#7, 1962].)
“The Midnighters first recorded ‘The Twist’ in a rather loose arrangement in a Florida studio for Vee-Jay Records in early 1958 (which went unreleased until 1993). A second recording session in November, 1958 in Cincinnati, OH resulted in a side released in early 1959 by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters as the B-side to ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, this version proved to be only a moderate 1960 hit, peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. But, ‘The Twist’, the song, and ‘The Twist’, the dance, would be forever popularized in 1960 when covered by Chubby Checker, becoming an international hit in September 1960. (A 1960 re-issue of the Midnighters’ original, released in the wake of Checker’s chart-topping version, peaked again at #28.)

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