A Twister of Twist Songs

In a recent MSNBC commentary, I mentioned that the old dance 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: Cooke’s “Twisting the Night Away” 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 wasn’t just a trendy dance – it was an all-out 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 “study time” studying the Billboard book of   top 100 hits (aka “Top 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 “U.S.” Bonds, etc. So here’s a list of some of the weirdest.

Rod McKuen - The Oliver Twist

“Twisting Bells” – Santo and Johnny (#49, 1960)

“Kissin’ and Twistin’” – Fabian (#91, 1960)

“Everybody’s Twistin’” – Frank Sinatra (#75, 1962)

“The Alvin Twist” – The Chipmunks (#40, 1962)

“Oliver Twist” – Rod McKuen (#76, 1962)

“Twistin’ Postman” — The Marvelettes (#34, 1962)

“The Basie Twist” – Count Basie (#94, 1962)

“Tequila Twist” – The Champs (#99, 1962)

“Twistin’ All Night Long” – Danny and the Juniors (#68, 1962)  

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