Can you imagine missing out on riding the wave of the dance craze that swept the 1960's because you weren't available for a TV appearance? That's exactly happened to Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. They recorded the original version of The Twist on the “B” side of their single release, Teardrops On Your Letter in 1959. The Midnighters version of The Twist was a moderate hit 1960 when it was re-released, reaching number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song became popular on a Baltimore TV dance show hosted by Buddy Dean, who recommended the song to *** Clark of American Bandstand. Dean tried to book Ballard, but he was unavailable. So, he selected a local performer to record the song, who we all know as Chubby Checker. Chubby Checker first performed the song at the Rainbow Club in New Jersey in July 1961. A few weeks later he performed it on *** Clark's American Bandstand. By late 1961 The Twist craze was in full swing.
Billboard Magazine listed it as number 451 of it's Top 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.