In a recent MSNBC commentary, I mentioned that the old danceÂÂ known as the twist was so ubiquitous in early 1960s that even soul great Sam Cooke spent time twisting the night away. Although some commenters seemed incredulous about this, that really is a fact: Cookeâ€™s â€œTwisting the Night Awayâ€Â hit Number 9 on the Billboard charts in 1962 (a cover version by Rod Stewart got to Number 59 in 1973).
That got me thinking about how the twist wasnâ€™t just a trendy dance â€“ it was an all-outÂÂ craze. It took off in 1960 and then got revived two years later. I first noticed this while I was in college and used to spend my â€œstudy timeâ€Â studying the Billboard book ofÂÂ ÂÂ top 100 hits (aka â€œTop Pop Singles), which I later bought. A huge number of artists cut twist records. Most of us know all the hits, by Chubby Checker, Gary â€œU.S.â€Â Bonds, etc. So hereâ€™s a list of some of the weirdest.
â€œTwisting Bellsâ€Â â€“ Santo and Johnny (#49, 1960)
â€œKissinâ€™ and Twistinâ€™â€Â â€“ Fabian (#91, 1960)
â€œEverybodyâ€™s Twistinâ€™â€Â â€“ Frank Sinatra (#75, 1962)
â€œThe Alvin Twistâ€Â â€“ The Chipmunks (#40, 1962)
â€œOliver Twistâ€Â â€“ Rod McKuen (#76, 1962)
â€œTwistinâ€™ Postmanâ€Â — The Marvelettes (#34, 1962)
â€œThe Basie Twistâ€Â â€“ Count Basie (#94, 1962)
â€œTequila Twistâ€Â â€“ The Champs (#99, 1962)
â€œTwistinâ€™ All Night Longâ€Â â€“ Danny and the Juniors (#68, 1962)ÂÂ ÂÂ