Fact: Chubby Checker may have been dubbed “The High Priest of the Twist”, but Hank Ballard wrote the original lyrics for “The Twist” and recorded the song with The Midnighters.
In 1960, Chubby Checker debuted and danced to his rendition of “The Twist” on The Dick Clark Show. It was at Clark’s behest that an artist other than Hank Ballard recorded the song. He didn’t want to entertain Ballard’s risqué lyrics or ‘dirty records’.
Checker’s adaptation of “The Twist” set a record for being the 2nd song to hit #1 two different times. (“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby was the 1st). It remained in the top ten for 25 weeks! In Billboard’s Hot 100, the song was named “the biggest hit in history”.
Teens everywhere began twisting the ’60s away, kicking-off the dance craze era. (A dance craze tune is composed of lyrics developed from a dance). Checker went on to capitalize on several of these including: “Mashed Potato Limbo”, “Pony Time” (2nd #1 single) “Dance the Mess Around” and “The Hucklebuck”.
The Twist was easy to master and a good match for the popular beach movies. Turning and gliding with a partner was not conducive for a sandy dance floor. But, the Twist was perfect. As Checker once commented, “We changed the dance floor. We changed the world.”
How about it – who else wants to twist again?