When the 60s started we were told to “Rock Around The Clock”, by Bill Haley and the Comets and Johnny O’Keefe had us “Shout” at the same time. Meanwhile down “At The Hop”; Danny and the Juniors told us that “Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay” and Bobby Rydell had us “Sway” to the marimba rhythm at his “Swinging School”.
Not so energetic was Cliff Richard doing “Willie And The Hand-Jive”. But of all the dance fads that swept through the 60s few caught on as universally as the Twist. It all started in Detroit when R&B singer Hank Ballard devised a song, to accompany the twisting movements of his backing band The Midnighters. Ballard’s version did not reach the charts but when Chubby Checker recorded “The Twist” and performed on Dick Clark’s influential TV show American Bandstand it peaked at number one in September 1960. Twist records then became a musical sub-genre and swamped the charts and filled the jukeboxes all over the world. We had “Peppermint Twist” from Joey Dee and the Starliters; “Twist Twist Senora” and “Dear Lady Twist” by Gary U.S. Bonds; “Twisting The Night Away” by Sam Cooke; “Ya Ya Twist” by Petula Clark; “Twist Little Sister” by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes; “Twistin’ Postman” by The Marvellettes ; “So Deep Twist” by Brenda Lee; “Twist And Shout” by The Isley Brothers before The Beatles made it a worldwide smash hit; even old blue eyes Frank Sinatra told us “Everybody’s Twisting”. 60s teenagers did not need Pilates or aerobics to keep fit; twisting to a two to three minute record was all we needed.
But Chubby Checker had the monopoly on dance discs with “The Twist”; “Let’s Twist Again”; “Slow Twisting” a duet with Dee Dee Sharp; “Teach Me To Twist” with Booby Rydell. Chubby also had us “Dance The Mess Around”; “The Fly”; “The Pony”; “Limbo Rock”; “Let’s Limbo Some More”; “The Pony”; “Popeye The Hitch-hiker”; and “The Hucklebuck” which was a huge hit in Australia for Irish group Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband.
While in Australia Little Pattie and the Statesmen had everyone doing “The Maroubra Stomp” and letting us know that “He’s My Blonde-Headed Stompie-Wompie Surfer Boy”. The Groove had us dancing to “Simon Says” while Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs did “The Mashed Potato” cover of Dee Dee Sharp’s USA smash hit.
Other dance discs on the jukebox included “The Hippy Hippy Shake” by Chad Romero and later by The Swinging Blue Jeans; “Brontosaurus Stomp” by The Piltdown Men; “The Locomotion” by Little Eva, twenty five years before Kylie Minogue revived it in 1987; “Do The Cha-Cha-Cha” by Bobby Rydell; “Blame It On The Bossa-Nova” by Eydie Gorme; “Soul Limbo” by Booker T and the MG’s; “The Watusi” by The Orlons; “The Hully Gully” by The Dovells and Elvis Presley had us “Do The Clam” and “Bossa Nova Baby”.
Kathy Kirby added lyrics to The Shadows instrumental hit “Dance On”; but if all this dancing was too energetic just follow The Shadows lead and sit down and do the “Foot-Tapper”.