Chancellor of Soul's Chronicles-Journals Dedicated To The
Historical Preservation Of R&B, Pop and It's Artists and Music

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 The Twist!
The Dance That Took The World By Storm!


(The Twist Rocks The Nation)
 




After the success of Chubby Checker's recording of the Twist, it became the
Chubby Checkermost successful dance in the country. Everybody was twisting and it introduced a new concept in the way we danced called, 'apart dancing', where both parties can  enjoy dancing apart instead of touching each other. Cameo-Parkway released 3 LP's on Chubby. ' Twist with Chubby Checker', 'Chubby Checker' and ' For Twisters Only', during the course of 1960-61. Figuring that The Twist would just a short fade, Chubby capitalized on other dances like, 'The Hucklebuck' (No 15 R&B, No 14 Pop), 'Pony Time (No 1 R&B, No 1 Pop) originally written and recorded by fellow labelmate, Don Covey & The Goodtimers. But the Twist just wouldn't go away. So Parkway released another Twist song by Chubby entitled, 'Let's Twist Again', (No 26 R&B, No 8 Pop), during the summer of 1961. ' The Fly', (No 11 R&B, No 7 Pop), would spark another short dance craze in the late fall-winter of 1961.


People often wondered who were the background session singers on all of Chubby's recordings. They were the Dreamlovers. The group consisted of, Donald Hagan, Morris Gardner, James Dunn, Clifford Dunn, Cleveland Hammock Jr. and Tommy Ricks. They got together as a group while attending Northeast High in Philadelphia. They were always unaccredited on most of all of the recordings at Cameo-Parkway, mainly Chubby's being the most popular of all their session recordings. When they asked Chubby to plug their names during his appearances on Bandstand, he didn't, maybe because of his label contractual reasons. After the Dreamlovers receive royalties from their studio
Hank Ballard and The Midnighterswork, the company would deduct so call expenses from their check, having little money left over for themselves. The Dreamlovers would finally receive their just due with a masterpiece hit, ' When We Get Married' on the  Heritage label (hitting No 10 on the Pop charts on Sept 21, 1961). When making their
own appearance on American Bandstand, Dick Clark would tell the nation that this is the group that sang background on all of Chubby Checker's records as well as the artists on Cameo-Parkway.

Chubby still continued to record other dance hits that included, ' Popeye (The
Hitchhiker) b/w ' Limbo Rock' (Popeye hitting No 13 R&B, No 10 Popů'Limbo
Rock hitting No 3 R&B, No 2 Pop) 'Dance The Mess Around' (No 24 Pop) but
the Twist still would not go away.



Around 1961 in New York, a swinging place called the Peppermint Lounge, located in the heart of the theater district on 45th St & B'way, featured a local band called Joey Dee & The Starlighters. Joey and his band were regulars there and even recorded a live monster hit called, 'Peppermint Twist Pt. 1& 2', on Roulette hitting No. 1 Pop for approximately 3 weeks! One particular night, a few upper class socialites decided visit the popular club, after attending a play. As Joey and the band launched into some twist numbers, the socialites watched the teenagers do the dance. They decided it looks like fun, so they got and started to mingle out on the floor. One well-known socialite was named, Hope Hamilton. She along with her associates, was twisting along with these gangly teenagers. Most of them were motorcycle bikers. Cholly Knickerbocker was a reporter for the 'New York- American Journal Newspaper'. The next day, he would feature an article about the upper class socialites' night on the town including himself, at the Peppermint Lounge and give it
a wonderful approval.

After Cholly's review on the club, more socialites including Hollywood stars such as Shelly Winters, Liberace, Judy Garland, Carol Channing and John Wayne would  attend the Peppermint Lounge. Even as many as 100 people or more would jam the club where a lot a people waiting on line, couldn't even get in!

On January 13, 1962, The Twist with the exception of Bing Crosby's hit 'White
Christmas' is the only song in chart history to return to the No. 1 position on the Pop charts after an absence of one year or more. On the R&B charts it hit
No. 4.


The dance that almost faded into obscurity began to take shape and style and
become famous all over again, this time with the older generation, the same
ones who 8 years earlier couldn't accept Rhythm & Blues or as it was christened as a camouflage title, 'rock and roll'. The Twist is back again with a vengeance!




(End of Part 2)



Materials should not be used or altered without expressed permission of the author,


Mike Boone

(Chancellor of Soul)


Part III>>

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