3 March 2003
Finger poppin' time
A moment of noise, if you please silence wasn't his thing for R&B legend Hank Ballard, who died yesterday in Los Angeles.
Ballard's Midnighters (originally the Royals, but confusion with the "5" Royales dictated a name change) scored many R&B hits, starting with the salacious "Work With Me Annie" in 1954. But he's perhaps best remembered for a throwaway B side, the flip of 1959's "Teardrops on Your Letter", a bouncy little number called "The Twist", which in a soundalike version by Chubby Checker Ballard once said when he first heard Checker's record on the radio in 1960, he thought it was his own became the only record to hit #1, drop off the charts completely, and then hit #1 again the next year, in the midst of dozens of Twist records.
Depending on whom you believe, Ballard was 66, or maybe he was 75. All together now:
There's a thrill
Up on the hill
Let's go, let's go, let's go
Posted at 7:08 PM to Tongue and Groove