Twist and shout! 5



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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”.

Do you remembering twisting?

Benjamin Hill

I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland 1946, I attended school at Ballygomartin Secondary School until I began an apprenticeship as an Electrician in 1962 at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders (Birthplace of the Titanic). I married Rose-Marie in 1964 and immigrated to Australia in 1970 together with our two children Anna-Marie and Ronald. I worked in various sections of the construction industry as an Electrician until retirement 2011 and now my blog about 60s music is a labour of love that I am lucky to share with all lovers of music.

  1. Don’t forget “Reelin and a rockin” by Dave Clarke 5.

    1 REPLY
    • Thanks for the comment John, there are plenty of dance songs from the 60’s but I could not fit them all in, like “Do You Wanna Dance”, Cliff Richard; “Rock N Roll Music” Chuck Berry; “Let’s Dance”, Chris Montez; and “Red River Rock”, Johnny and the Hurricanes to name a few. Click on “View Profile” to see other articles I have written and please leave a comment

  2. Benjamin, maybe you are too young to remember that “Rock around the Clock” was first recorded by Bill Haley in 1954!It re-entered the charts in the 60’s and 70’s.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Ally Morgan, no I’m not too young to remember the original Rock Around The Clock from the movie THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, starring Glenn Ford, but my article concentrates on the 60’s, but thank you for the comment if you click on “View Profile” you will see other articles that have been published, and please feel free to comment.
      again thank you

  3. Benjamin has incredible knowledge of 60’s music, I look forward to his articles, keep them coming

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