“Twist” Writer Ballard Dies - Rolling Stone
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“Twist” Writer Ballard Dies

R&B legend succumbs to cancer

Legendary R&B singer and songwriter Hank Ballard died Sunday at
his Los Angeles home after suffering from throat cancer; according
to birth records, which differ from his official biographical
information, he was seventy-five.

Ballard, born John H. Kendricks in Detroit, formed his first
doo-wop group while a teenager working on the Ford assembly lines.
He was discovered in the early Fifties by the writer and producer
Johnny Otis and became frontman for the notoriously naughty Hank
Ballard and the Midnighters. With songs like “Finger Poppin’ Time,”
“Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” and the million-seller “Work With Me
Annie,” the group scored a half-dozen R&B and pop hits in the
Fifties and Sixties, even though some of its tracks were banned
from radio.

Still, he was best known for writing “The Twist,” which he
recorded and released in 1958, a year before Chubby Checker’s
version became a hit and launched a dance craze.

Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in


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