The Twist – Twice

Today in 1962, Chubby Checker went back to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘The Twist‘. The song first topped the charts in Sept 1960 and became the only record in American chart history to top the charts on two separate occasions. Originally released in 1958 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as a B-side to ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, the song enjoyed moderate success, peaking at No. 28. American Dick Clark hoped to get Ballard to perform ‘The Twist’ on his show. When the artist wasn’t available, Clark looked for another local artist to record the song. Checker, whose voice was very similar to Ballard’s, got the nod. Buddy Savitt and Ellis Tollin provided the sax and drum riffs, the Dreamlovers sang backup. Such was American Bandstand’s popularity, that Checker’s appearance propelled his cover of ‘The Twist’ to the top of the charts.

‘The Twist’ became popular again in 1988 when The Fat Boys featured Checker in their remake. It reached number 2 in the United Kingdom and number 1 in Germany.

In 2014, Billboard magazine crowned ‘The Twist’ as “biggest hit” of the 1960s.

Today in History:

1930: The first Mickey Mouse comic strip appears.
1968: Johnny Cash records a show at Folsom Prison in California. An update of his 1956 hit, Folsom Prison Blues became one his most famous single releases.
1969: The Beatles release the ‘Yellow Submarine‘ album. Elvis begins a 10 day recording session that will produce ‘Suspicious Minds‘ his final No. 1.
1973: Eric Clapton begins his comeback at the Rainbow Theatre, London, with Pete Townsend, Ronnie Wood, Stevie Winwood, Rebop, Jim Capaldi and support from The Average White Band. The night’s two shows were recorded for the ‘Rainbow Concert’ album. Townshend organised the concert to help Clapton kick his heroin addiction.

Today’s Birthdays:

1835: American clergyman and author, Horiato Alger. d.1899
1884: Actress Sophie Tucker d.1966
1917: Jesse White, Actor (Maytag repairman) d.1997
1919: Robert Stack, TV & film Actor (Elliot Ness) d.2003
1925: Gwen Verdon d.2000
1931: Rip Taylor d.2019
1931: Charles Nelson Reilly d.2007
1938: Father Knows Best actor Billy Gray
1943: Night Court actor Richard Moll
1961: Actress Julie Louis-Dryfus
1966:Actor Patrick Dempsey
1966: Bewitched’s baby, Tabitha Stevens
1970: Producer Shonda Rhimes

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit