Created on 21/01/2002
Latest update on 21/10/2016

Artist: Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
Author: Hank Ballard
Label: King
Year: 1958

B-side (sic) of love ballad Teardrops On Your Letter, written by Henry Glover, vice president of King, which explains a lot. Hank modelled it on his own Is Your Love For Real ('57) and cut The Twist twice: first for Vee-Jay (unreleased at the time) and shortly after for King. Dick Clark (see footnote) had a deal with King to withhold that second version, so that Chubby Checker's cover could break. Chubby being one of Clark's stall mates. In exchange Dick would make a hit out of Hank's Finger Poppin' Time. Payola ruled in those days. Meanwhile Hank Ballard renewed the rights on his song, securing him what rests of all future gains.



Buddy Miller & The Rockin' Ramblers [as Las Vegas Twist (Teen Twist), crediting Nelson/Miller]


Chubby Checker [n°1 US; again in '62]


Chaussettes Noires [as Le Twist]




Fat Boys [with Chubby Checker]


Championettes [in Twist medley]


Bobby Radcliff

Hank Ballard wrote it after seeing Florida teenagers dancing. His Midnighters adopted this dance routine. His own version was just an R&B hit. Dick Clark of American Bandstand fame was secretly impressed and wanted his own Twist, not one by Hank, a man he hated for cutting dirty songs like Work With Me Annie (see there). Clark contacted Ernest Evans, a chicken factory worker from Philadelphia, to change his name into Checker (en vogue since Fats Domino) and to cut a Twist of his own. Result: the twist became the only dance craze for everybody, parents and younsters alike. A phenomenon not to be repeated until the Lambada almost 30 years later. (see also Whatcha Gonna Do)


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

No Facebook No Twitter