Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forgotten Music -- The "Annie" Sequence by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters

When I was a whippersnapper, it didn't take much to get your songs banned from the airwaves by the FCC. Those songs seem pretty mild now when compared to just about anything from the respected rap artists of this era, but they were hot stuff back in the '50s.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters caused a sensation with "Work with Me, Annie," which was followed by "Annie Had a Baby" and "Annie's Aunt Fanny." And those were followed by "Sexy Ways," one of the inspirations for this fine story. I still own my 45 of that one.

Hank went on to write a little number called "The Twist" that made Chubby Checker a household name and hit #1 on the charts twice, the second time after being off the charts for a year. No other song's ever done that. Hank's own version was a b-side but it got a lot of airplay. Still, for those of us who came a long a little before "The Twist," it's the sexy stuff that you could hear only on the jukebox or late at night on stations far away that will define Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.

9 comments:

George said...

You music collection continues to amaze me, Bill! Thanks for enlightening us on HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS!

Gerard Saylor said...

The tune for Work with me Annie and the backing vocals sound like another song I cannot remember. Maybe someone took the tune and changed the lyrics or wrote new ones?

Gerard Saylor said...

I remember now. "Wallflower (roll with me Henry)" by Etta James. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THGTLmVcilI

Evan Lewis said...

Great stuff, Bill. I like "Roll with me, Henry" too. It was soon sanitized as "Dance with me, Henry".

Todd Mason said...

Yup, though sometimes the record said you were getting "Dance with Me, Henry," and you still got "Roll with Me, Henry." Ooo, ooo, ooo ooo whee.

I imagine that sort of thing didn't help Alan Freed with his detractors, either.

Todd Mason said...

Hey, Bill...you're right, I believe, about the chart-topping of "Checker"'s version of "The Twist"...though a few have come within shouting distance. The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" sticks in the head thus...

Scott Parker said...

Thanks for participating. I appreciate the subtle approach to subject matter rather than the overt way permeating modern music. Will read your story knowing it's musical inspiration...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Saw Shutter Island today and couldn't help but take joy in a turntable in a lovely wooden cabinet. We sacrificed a lot by giving up turntables. That record going around was mesmerizing.

Bill Crider said...

To me there's still something magical about the sound of the needle's buzz just before it finds the grooves or a record.