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Streetswings Dance History Archives: The TWIST
Twist dancers
      Hank Ballard wrote the original song to the twist in 1955 when he "saw" teenagers doing the dance (published it in 1958.) Kal Mann of Parkway records saw the teenagers on American Bandstand dancing to Hank Ballard’s record, “The Twist,” and hired Chubby Checker to performed it on Clay Cole’s TV show in 1959. On August 6, 1960 Checker
Twist Dance History Page Logo 2
would debut the twist to the world on the "Dick Clark Show (American Bandstand)," this show set the whole world  twistin' the night away with Checker's "cleaned up for TV version."   Chubby Checker the Peppermint Lounge and American Bandstand would make this dance the most popular dance in the World by 1960. The Twist was basically a twisting motion back and forth with the hips. Unfortunately, the twist was also associated to racism,
 payola, copyright infringement and the Mafia.   What was leading the way for dances like the Twist you ask, the answer is "Television and SAND." Surfing was becoming extremely popular with the young and sand was replacing the dance floors. This sand  would prove the Death Kill to any of the dances that required spinning or traveling while promoting stationary dances such as the Twist, Swim, Surf, Surfer Stomp, Frug, Ska, Watusi, and Monkey. These dancers could basically just stand in place on the beach and dance which lead the way for The Go-Go dancers. And now that Televisions were in most homes, people could watch shows like American Bandstand and learn these dances. The Bossa Nova was the new dance that was to replace the Twist ... It didn't.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

USA 1955 (1920's) n/a Freestyle / Fad

Various Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Song Clips Below

mp3 Music Titles

Don't Knock The Twist Let's Twist Again Play Song Sample Congo Twist (Revels) ??
Beach Blanket Bingo Lose Your Inhibitions Twist Play Song Sample $ Hey Let's Twist (Joey Dee) MP3
Beat Generation, the Twist Around the Clock Play Song Sample $ Let's Twist a la Paloma (Chubby) MP3
Bikini Beach 1959 - The Twist (1 & 2) Play Song Sample $ Let's Twist Again (Chubby) MP3
Elvis Posters       Play Song Sample Let's twist - Let's Twist - Let's Twist ??
Hairspray       Play Song Sample $ Mr. Twister (Shirelles) MP3
Hullabaloo       Play Song Sample $ Peppermint Twist (1&2) (Joey Dee) MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Rubberleg Twist (Isley) MP3

Twist CD's

Play Song Sample $ Slow Twistin' (Chubby) MP3
        Play Song Sample $ Soul Twist (King Curtis) MP3
      $ Bomb the Twist (5,6,7,8's) Play Song Sample $ Teach Me To Twist MP3
      $ Let's Twist Again (Chubby) Play Song Sample $ Texas Twist (Chubby) MP3
            Play Song Sample The Fly, The Jet, The Mess-Around ??
            Play Song Sample $ Twist, the (Chubby) MP3
            Play Song Sample Twist Along ??
            Play Song Sample $ Twist Along Without You Now (George Hudson) MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Twist and Shout (Isley Bros.) MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Twist It Up (Chubby) MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Twist Mit Mir (Chubby) MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Twist A St-Tropez MP3
            Play Song Sample $ Twistin' U.S.A. MP3
            Play Song Sample Your Lips & Mine MP3
... Click Here for full Twist titled Music List

Night Clubs



Grecian Village Twist (Chicago) n/a Los Angeles
Lemon Twist West (Chicago)       New York
Lu Lu's (Ontario)       Paris, France
Mecca Nightclub (Rome & NY)       Rome
Peppermint Lounge        
Starliter Club (di Niciola's /Dee)        
The Roxy        

Films/ Movies


Ballets / Stage

1961 - Continental Twist American Bandstand n/a
$ 1961 - Hey Let's Twist [Download] Clay Cole Show (1963)  
$ 1961 - Twist Around The Clock [DVD1| DVD2] Dick Clark Show  
1961 - Twist Craze Hulabaloo  
10/21/1961 - Fox Movietone #169-520 Laugh-In


$ 1962 - a Ritmo de twist [DVD] Ready, Steady, Go! (1959-1962) 11/1960 - Dig Magazine
1962 - Canzoni a tempo di twist Rate the Records 1962 - Dell Comics "The Twist"
$ 1962 - Don't Knock The Twist [DVD] Shindig! 1962 - Sepia Magazine
$ 1962 - Twist Again {?DVD?]   12/1964 - Look Magazine
1962 - Twist All Night (Louis Prima)       1960's Fashions Book   The Twist, Documentary by Ron Mann  (VHS)
10/7/1963 - Fox-Movietone #189-39      
$ 1964 - T.A.M.I. Show (w/ Teri Garr & Tony Basil) [DVD]      
1965-69 - 20th Century News Reel (GoGo Girls)      
$ 1975 - Folies (Folies bourgeoises) [DVD]       $1960s Fashions The Twist
$ 1988 - Hairspray [DVD]       $ 2012: Peppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the '60s (J. Johnson)
$ 1993 - Twist ( Mann Docu) [DVD]      
$ 1994 - Pulp Fiction (Travolta) [DVD]          
$ 1995 - History of R&R: Good Rockin' Tonight          
$ Live with Chubby Checker [DVD?]          
$ History of Rock and Roll V2 [DVD]          

Other popular Dances of the time...

Bunny Hop Frug, the Mashed Potato Slop, the
Bossa Nova Hitchhiker (Popeye) Mess Around, the Square Dance
Bristol Stomp, the Hucklebuck, the Monkey, the Stomp, the
Bug, The Hully Gully Mule, the Stroll, the
Calypso Jelly Fish, the Pony, the Surf, the
Cha Cha Jerk, the Popeye, the Surfer Stomp
Continental, the Limbo, the Potato, the Swim, the
Elephant, the (Arm makes a Trunk) Locomotion Roach, the Swing dance
Fly, the Madison Rock and Roll Waddle
Freddie, the Mambo Shimmy / The Shake Watusi

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

DJ's / TV Show Hosts

Ann Margaret Harold Belfor (chorg) Alan Freed
Cholly Atkins Kenny Wetzel Bruce Morrow
Chubby Checker 'Killer Joe' Piro Clay Cole
Clay Cole w/ Vickie Spencer [TV Host] Larry Vernieri Dan Daniel
David Brigati Paul Anka  Dick Clark
Earl Barton (Choreo.) The Parkettes Jocko Henderson
Elvis Presley Toni Basil Hal Jackson
    Murray the K
    Wolfman Jack

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Twist Magazine n/a 1960's n/a
$ Let's Twist Again n/a 1989 Hot off the Press
$ The Twist...The Story... Dawson, Jim 1995 Faber & Faber
$ Twist and Shout... Cotton, Lee 2001 Popular Culture Ink



Poets / Writers

Hank Ballard $ Bobby Darin n/a
The Revels Chubby Checker    
  David Brigati    
  Fat Boys    
  $ Isley Brothers    
  Joey Dee & the Starlighters    
  Larry Vernieri    
  Shirelles, the    

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

A-Go-Go The Rascals   -
TheBeatles Fad Dances      
December 10, 2012