Posted by themusicsover on March 2, 2010
Hank Ballard (Born John Kendricks)
November 18, 1927 – March 2, 2003
Hank Ballard was a popular R&B singer and songwriter who helped usher in the early days of rock ‘n roll. His biggest hit was 1969’s “The Twist,” a song he wrote for a dance he invented, no matter what Chubby Checker says. Raised in Detroit, Ballard quickly took a liking to the music he heard around him, and by the early ’50s, he was singing in a local doo-wop group. He was soon discovered by famed music impresario, Johnny Otis, who signed him to a record deal with a group that would be called Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Over the next several years, the group released a string of hits that included “Work With Me Annie,” “Finger Poppin’ Time,” and of course, “The Twist.” The group broke up in 1965, after which Ballard launched a solo career, at times performing with James Brown. From the ’80s through the late ’90s, Ballard toured the oldies circuit with a reformed Midnighters. In 1990, he was rightfully inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On March 2, 2003, Hank Ballard died of throat cancer at the age of 75.
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