I really liked the Twist. In the early Sixties, I spent four years in the Air Force and they would sponsor dances for the guys and bring in local girls so we would have someone to dance with. I had no trouble dancing to slow numbers, but the faster ones were a challenge. The Twist was a dance I could do. It’s so easy, that anyone of almost any age can do the Twist.
“The Twist” deserves a little more space than other songs. It is the only song in the history of the charts to be number one and then completely fall of the charts and come back a second time and hit number one again. The second time happens in 1962. The song spent a total of 38 weeks on the Hot 100, longer than any other number one song ever.
“The Twist” did not originate with Chubby Checker. The first to record the song was Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, an R&B group who were great pioneers in early rock and roll music. They released a record called “Teardrops on Your Letter” which crossed over to the pop chart but did not make the Top 40. The flip side of that record was “The Twist” which was written by Ballard. This was 1958 and the dance craze had not kicked in yet. Two years later, everyone was dancing the Twist but amazingly, there wasn’t a record about the song.
Dick Clark thought there should be a record for the Twist and asked Danny and the Juniors to record one, but they couldn’t for some reason. Then he remember a fellow he’d met a couple years earlier named Ernest Evans. Clark liked the way he sang and they got together and recorded “The Twist.” Ernest Evans had been called “Chubby” by his friends and they devised a take-off on the name Fats Domino and Evans became Chubby Checker.
The kids were already dancing “The Twist” when the record came out, but when Chubby appeared on American Bandstand on August 6, 1960, the people went wild and everyone was doing “The Twist.”
The first time “The Twist” hit number one, it entered the pop chart on August 8, 1960 (just two days after the Bandstand performance) and rose quickly to number one where it stayed for one week. It would return in 1962.