Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Monday, 28 October 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " THE MIDNIGHTERS " WERE AN R&B GROUP FROM DETROIT, MICHIGAN AND AN INFLUENTIAL GROUP IN THE 1950s AND 1960s WITH MANY R&B HIT RECORDS :
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY The Midnighters were an American R&B group from Detroit, Michigan. They were an influential group in the 1950s and early 1960s, with many R&B hit records. They were also notable for launching the career of lead singer Hank Ballard, and the world-wide dance craze The Twist. Between 1953 and 1962 The Midnighters scored almost two dozen hits on the National Pop & R&B Charts. Their big hits included the million-selling Billboard Top 10 pop hits "Finger Popping Time" (for which they received a 1961 Grammy Award nomination), and "Let's Go,Let's Go,Let's Go".The Midnighters also enjoyed 13 Top 10 R&B Hits,including 3 R&B # 1's. Top 10 R&B hits included "Work With Me Annie", "It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)", "Annie Had A Baby", "The Hoochi Coochi Coo", "Teardrops On Your Letter", "Get It", "The Float" and "Nothing But Good". They received The Rhythm and Blues Foundation's prestigious Pioneer Award in 1992, and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999, Lead singer Hank Ballard received a controversial solo induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The Midnighters as a group were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, 2012.
"Get It" was followed by many other hits, all of which featured Ballard on lead vocals. The first record in this series was "Work with Me, Annie", (1953) a song that reached #1 on the Billboard R&B Chart. The rest of the "Annie" song series included "Sexy Ways" (# 2 R&B,1954),"Annie Had A Baby" (#1 R&B,1954), "Annie's Aunt Fannie" (#10 R&B,1954), and "Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)" (#14 R&B,1955). That particular song was The Midnighters' answer to Etta James' "answer song" to The Midnighters, "(Dance with Me, Henry)" which became her first hit earlier that year.
After one more Top 10 R&B hit in 1955 with "It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)", The Midnighters went into a hitmaking dry spell that lasted 3-1/2 years. During this time, members came and went: Lawson Smith returned from the U.S. Armed Services, after having been drafted, to replace Charles Sutton, Norman Thrasher replaced Sonny Woods, and guitarist Cal Green replaced Arthur Porter, who had earlier taken the place of original member Alonzo Tucker, who went on to become a successful independent songwriter, penning hits for Jackie Wilson ("Baby Workout", "No Pity (In The Naked City)", "Squeeze Her, Tease Her (But Love Her)", "You Don't Know What It Means", "Years From Now", The Chi-Lites ("Marriage License"), Gladys Knight & The Pips "Every Beat of My Heart",(originally recorded by The Midnighters), The Animals, and others. Records on the group were being released during this time, but none were hits. In the meantime, The Midnighters' record label, King, had placed their bets, and their future, on a powerful new vocal group from Georgia: The Famous Flames, featuring lead singers James Brown and Bobby Byrd, who had been influenced by The Midnighters' work.
In 1959, things began to change for the Midnighters. They were about to experience their second wave of success. The group, now called Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, had been switched to the parent label, King Records, and released their first hit in years with "Teardrops On Her Letter". This song, while only reaching # 87 on the Billboard Pop chart, was a Top 10 smash on the R&B chart, peaking at # 4, and re-established The Midnighters as a hit-making force. But, even more significant, was the song's flip-side: a song about a dance entitled "The Twist". This song too was a hit, peaking at # 16 on the R&B Chart. It was destined to be an even bigger hit for the group, when released one year later.
According to the book The Twist, by Jim Dawson, Dave Appell, working for Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe's Cameo-Parkway Records of Philadelphia, wanted to record a version of The Midnighters' hit, "The Twist." Although Ballard was credited as the sole writer of the song, its origins allegedly went back further than that. In the summer of 1960, while serving as bandleader of Cameo-Parkway's house band, Appell wanted to re-record the song, as he saw the song as having hit potential. In the meantime, Dick Clark, the host of ABC's American Bandstand, also noticed how local white teens in Philly were dancing to Hank and The Midnighters' original, and felt the same as Appell. But, having no literal or financial connection to The Midnighters' record label, King Records, Clark had no way to capitalize on The Midnighters' song. Clark gave promotion and airplay to two of The Midnighters records, "Finger Popping Time", and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" on American Band stand in exchange for King Records president Syd Nathan giving Clark licencing rights for one of his artists on Cameo Parkway,one Ernest Evans, later to be known as Chubby Checker, to record The Twist. Clark was part owner of Cameo-Parkway, and several other record companies at the time.
In 2012, The Midnighters as a group were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A special sub-committee, appointed by the Rock Hall, finally decided to address the issue of deserving pioneering groups that were not inducted in the Hall's early years, when their front men were inducted. As a result of this committee's decision, The Midnighters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Hank Ballard, under the premise that they should have been inducted with him back in 1990. The inducted members were Henry Booth, Cal Green, Arthur Porter, Lawson Smith, Charles Sutton, Norman Thrasher, and Sonny Woods. Original Midnighters Lawson Smith (now known as Abdul Bin-Asad), and Norman Thrasher, the last surviving members of the group, accepted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on behalf of the group, and acknowledged departed members, including original member Alonzo Tucker, who, strangely, was not inducted.