T is for The Twist by Chubby Checker

“Even the severely rhythm-challenged could do The Twist.”

From Billboard: “On December 16, [2016] Chubby Checker releases a newly-remixed physical version of his iconic hit, ‘The Twist,’ the Billboard Hot 100’s all-time No. 1. The update had arrived for digital purchase September 16, but now fans can own a hard copy of it.”

As all American pop music junkies should know, Chubby Checker’s version of the tune is the only one to go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in two non-consecutive years. The writing credits are somewhat in dispute, as you can read in the Wikipedia, but certainly from within the group Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, based on other tunes.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters “originally recorded a loose version of the song in a Florida studio for Vee-Jay Records in early 1958… They did not get around to recording the released version until November 11, 1958, when the Midnighters were in Cincinnati. Ballard thought ‘The Twist’ was the hit side, but King Records producer Henry Glover preferred the ballad ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, which he’d written himself.”

After the song became popular in Baltimore and Philadelphia, the song was destined for American Bandstand, but either Ballard was unavailable for the show (Wikipedia) OR, per Songfacts, “[AB host Dick] Clark loved the song but was wary of Ballard, who was known for raunchy songs like ‘Sexy Ways’ and ‘Work With Me, Annie.”

Clark looked for his own artist to break the song. He found a young man who was a chicken plucker and great impersonator. According to the Chubby Checker official site: “Ernest Evans was born in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, but grew up in South Philadelphia, where he lived with his parents and two brothers.”

Clark’s wife suggested that Evans use a variation on Fats Domino: Fats=Chubby Domino=Checker. “It was his version that raced up the charts. The cover was so convincing that when Hank Ballard first heard the song on the radio he thought it was him – ‘They cloned it’ were Hank’s words. Ballard was not bitter toward Checker or Clark when his version was left behind, especially since Ballard’s record company had no faith in the song. Since he was the songwriter, Ballard earned massive royalties when Checker’s version became a huge hit.”

“This started a dance craze that got so popular because it was so easy to do. Even the severely rhythm-challenged could do The Twist… This helped bridge a generation gap since both kids and adults could do it.

“In late 1961 and early 1962, the twist craze belatedly caught on in high society. Sightings of celebrities doing the dance made the song a hit with adults… This new interest… marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.”

There were lots of other twist-related songs on the charts in the early ’60s, including “Let’s Twist Again” (#8) and “Twistin’ U.S.A.” (#68), both by Checker, before the re-released “The Twist” hit #1 on January 13, 1962 and stayed there for 2 weeks. It was replaced by “Peppermint Twist – Part I” by Joey Dee and The Starliters, which held the top spot for 3 weeks. Checker re-recorded his biggest hit numerous times.

In this interview: Checker said, “Before ‘The Twist,’ you danced in rhythm with the song. With ‘The Twist,’ suddenly you’re dancing apart from the beat, and not with your girl. Now, you see a girl across the floor that you’ve never seen before, you’re nodding your head, you’re seeing her dance … By the time the song is over … whew,” Checker says, chuckling at the song’s impact on not only the development of early rock ‘n’ roll and dance, but perhaps also on relations between the sexes ever since. Check out this podcast as well.

“The song has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress on March 21, 2013 for long-term preservation.”

Listen to The Twist:
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (1959)
Chubby Checker on American Bandstand (1960)
The Fat Boys with Chubby Checker (1988)
Chubby Checker (2016)

The Lydster, Part 139: Random music

She sees a title she recognizes, because Pentatonix had subsequently performed it.

DNAmusic300The Daughter likes to perform, on her own terms.

Over the summer, she arranged an impromptu dance performance, which is not all that unusual, having taken ballet in the past. What was noteworthy was that she danced to Sail On by the Commodores [LISTEN]. She just took a random compact disc from my CD holder, a greatest hits album, and decided on that. She was unfamiliar with the song, and the group. Yet it was a nice routine.

A couple of weeks later, she decided that she and her mother ought to do a fashion show of some of the clothes they bought over a weekend in anticipation of going back to school. Again, she picks a random CD, Hand on the Torch by US3, also a group unknown to her. She sees a title she recognizes, because Pentatonix had subsequently performed it, and she uses that for the show. The song was I Got It Goin’ On [LISTEN]. It fit with the fashion model motif, and at a little more than five minutes, it was just the right length.

It’d be one thing if she’d perused a list of MP3 tracks and glommed onto these titles, but this was some sort of inspired musical alchemy where she takes a random disc, from over a thousand of them, and makes something of it.

(Image from here.)

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
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Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

March Rambling: a quintillion or a trillion?

Fred Hembeck talks about a compilation of his Marvel work, House of Hem.

Pie-Chart-39
Delayed exoneration of a death row inmate, after 30 years.

9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Grasp (Compared to the Rest of the World).

“The phone rang. It was my college rapist.”

What Happens When Mein Kampf’s Copyright Expires?

Building Equity: Race, Ethnicity, Class and Protected Bike Lanes.

Giving Homes to the Homeless is Cheaper Than Leaving them on the Street.

Man vs. Machine. A guy walks into a bar. He finds a video poker machine – run by the Oregon state lottery – which dealt him a strange hand.

Re: NCAA men’s basketball March Madness, the odds of a perfect bracket? It’s not 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Not incidentally, 10^18, or one followed by 18 zeroes is in the English system, one trillion. In any case, 9.2 quintillion is NOT 9.20000000000000000000, as NBC Nightly News showed earlier this month; THAT number is equal to a number smaller than 10.

Dustbury explained +/- (plus/minus) in basketball to me: “It’s based on the changing score during a player’s actual time: if, during a six-minute period in which he plays, if his team scores three points more than the opposition, he is +3. This of course varies greatly with substitutions, but electronic box scores update every minute or so.”

John Oliver won’t be your therapist: How he torpedoed the reassuring tropes of fake news.

Selma: the tragic anniversary of the death of Viola Liuzzo and Underground Railroad Project remembers the March.

Joseph Skulan on Wisconsin Mining Bill AB486 (2.17.12).

Major League Baseball’s Dirty Little Secret and Through the No-Looking Glass and Professional Ice Cream Taster.

25 maps that explain the English language.

Jaquandor: Writing Outside the Lines: on outlines. Plus the beer-drinking, 1970s sitcom DVD-watching Hank Speaks: How I Edit.

Dustbury hears voices; I’ve experienced this, too.

Gordon’s eight years in Chicago.

For all you lovers of the dance: here is an explanation of the influence of Africa on modern dance – if you have three hours to spare.

The Beatles or the Stones: Which Side Are You On? “If the Stones resented the Beatles’ cultural primacy, the Beatles resented the Stones’ unassailable coolness and sexual heat.” The Beatles themselves were like other men, but the music and lyrics channeled through them contained magic and messages from beyond the mind.

“Back when L.A.’s recording scene was a hit-minting machine that ruled the airwaves,” the Wrecking Crew worked up to four three-hour sessions a day. Here’s a review of a film about them.

Not only Diana Ross but also Mary Wilson turned 71 this month. 10 underrated Supremes songs.

SamuraiFrog ranks the Weird Al Yankovic songs: 165-151 and 150-136 and 135-126 and 125-116.

Art Spiegelman and jazz composer Phillip Johnston: “Wordless!”

Swamp Thing music.

The cover art on your favorite band’s album is awesome. It’s even better with cats. Must show the Daughter.

My friend Fred Hembeck is interviewed, and talks about a compilation of his Marvel work, House of Hem.

Irwin Hasen, R.I.P., the artist of the comic strip Dondi. Here’s the New York Times obit.

Trailers for 2015: The Best Animated Short nominees.

Muppets: Jim Henson Company and the ‘Into the Woods’ Movie that Could’ve Been and the message of “Rainbow Connection’ and Cookie Monster, Life Coach and Cookie Monster is making unboxing videos and Animal’s Whiplash.

How To Make The IDEAL Chocolate Chip Cookie: Add A Pinch of Science.

Getting more mayonnaise and toothpaste out of the container.

Dominoes and Etch-A-Sketch.

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s Magic Square.

Welcome to the Inauthentic Paper Detector. “Paste any text in the textbox. The chance that your submission is a human-written authentic scientific document will be output. Text over 50% chance will be classified as authentic.” Here’s the paper about it. Everything I write is inauthentic.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Chuck Miller: Welcome to the club, Roger Green!! Apparently, I have posted 1000 times on my Times Union blog. I had no idea. Also, Another win for the TU Community Bloggers.

My blog post re: the Barber Adagio was linked to EvilGeniusVic’s Capital Region.

Sharp Little Pencil: Outhouses and Holes We Dig, for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Jaquandor’s Sentential Links (the Leonard Nimoy edition).

T is for Tarantism

There are at least a dozen SEPARATE songs with the title Dance with Me, or a variation (Dance Wit’ Me. e.g.) that charted on the US charts.

dance1Tarantism (n.) is an illness characterized by the sudden urge to dance. More specifically, according to Merriam Webster, it is “a dancing mania or malady of late medieval Europe popularly regarded as being caused by the bite of the European tarantula (Lycosa tarentula).”

Here’s an interesting article about the topic. As I suspected, the dance of the tarantella is tied to this narrative; see an example of that dance HERE.

I’m convinced that just about any kind of dancing will heal the spider’s bite.

25 Amazing Dances From Around The World, and a really cool site, Discover Folk Dances from Around The World, unfortunately with some dead links. And THIS (don’t know if it works if you’re not on Facebook).

Top 10 Dance Movies according to Mojo.com; I’m sure you’ll disagree with some of the picks, as I do.

There are at least a dozen SEPARATE songs with the title Dance with Me, or a variation (Dance Wit’ Me. e.g.) that charted on the US charts! I’m not talking covers, I’m talking totally different words and music.

Some of MANY dance songs to LISTEN to. (Ranks on US Billboard pop charts.)
The Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine (#2 in 1974)
David Bowie – Let’s Dance (#1 in 1983)
Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself (#102 in 1983)
Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark (#2 in 1984)
Martha and the Vandellas -Dancing in the Street (#2 in 1964)

Finally, LISTEN to the only song to be #1 on the US pop charts in two non-consecutive years. Did you know what it was? The years, BTW, were 1960 and 1962.

 

abc15

ABC Wednesday, Round 15