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Thursday, April 19, 2012

I try to avoid speaking ill of the dead, but does Dick Clark have to answer for this...

Dick Clark died yesterday.  I did not know about this until I read Crack's post today.  The Macho Response reports on one of the great injustices of American music...

Here is how the song ended up becoming a hit: 
Ballard's original version was the B-side to "Teardrops On Your Letter," a song that was covered by many Country musicians. "The Twist" went over very well live and Ballard thought it was a hit, but his record company thought "Teardrops On My Letter" would do better. In Philadelphia a deejay named Buddy Dean had a TV dance party show and played the song. The kids' reaction was excellent and Buddy recommended the song to Dick Clark. Clark was impressed enough to play the song on American Bandstand and saw the incredible reaction - the kids went nuts. He tried to get Ballard to introduce the song on American Bandstand, but the deal fell through. Checker (real name: Earnest Evans) was a chicken plucker who liked to sing on the job. He was a great impersonator and kept everyone at the chicken plant laughing as he'd do his impersonations of the popular stars of that time like Fats Domino, Elvis, The Coasters and the Chipmunks. His boss thought he was great and just happened to be a close friend of Dick Clark. Clark was impressed enough by what Checker's boss said about him to invite Chubby to sing a Christmas Card greeting record he sent out to his friends. When he couldn't get Ballard on this show, Clark thought of Ernest Evans, the chicken plucker. He hired musicians and Evans to duplicate the Ballard version of "The Twist," which they did almost exactly: Same key, same tempo, and Evans sounded just like Hank Ballard. Clark was going to release the record but wanted Ernest to think up a stage name. Clark's wife suggested that he use a take off on Fats Domino: Fats=Chubby Domino=Checker. Ernest Evans became Chubby Checker. When Hank Ballard first heard the song on the radio he thought it was him - "They cloned it" were Hank's words.
This link that Crack Emcee had at his post states this:  Was Ballard bitter over Checker’s success? Far from it – he thanked Chubby Checker (and Dick Clark) for helping make the song popular and why not? One would assume Hank Ballard earned a fortune in songwriting royalties  Given how a lot of artists (especially black R&B artists) were ripped off during that time period, I would not automatically assume that about song writing royalties.  Still, I would be bitter on not getting the wider credit for this song.  

As far as Godfather scenes go:  The confrontation of Michael and Carlo seems more on point.  

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