Hank Ballard

Hank Ballard is best known as the original writer and performer of "The Twist", made famous by Chubby Checker in 1960. An R&B favorite amongst American black audiences in the 50s and 60s, Ballard joined The Midnighters (originally named The Royals) who went on to achieve chart success with the provocatively charged single, "Get It", in 1953. Born John Henry Kendricks, November 18, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan, Ballard was employed at an automobile factory when he joined Henry Booth, Cal Green, Charles Sutton, and Sonny Woods to become the lead singer of The Midnighters. The band often faced pushback from radio stations and religious groups for their risqué lyrics yet still scored hits in 1954 with "Work With Me Annie", "Annie Had a Baby", and "Sexy Ways". Their 1959 hit "Teardrops on Your Letter" featured "The Twist" on the B-side, reaching Number 4 on the R&B charts and was later discovered by American Bandstand host Dick Clark who brought the song to the attention of Chubby Checker. The momentum caused by Checker's cover kept The Midnighters regularly in the charts until they disbanded in 1965. Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and died on March 2, 2003 after a lengthy battle with throat cancer.

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Stations Featuring Hank Ballard

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