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This Day in Music: Let’s Do “The Twist”

This Week in Music reports that on this day in 1960 Chubby Checker appeared on American Bandstand and performed “The Twist.” The YouTube link has a slight different date (August 8).

This Week in Music says that “The Twist” holds an interesting distinction: It was the only song to reach the top of “the charts” — almost certainly Billboard, but the item doesn’t specify — twice. It was number one in 1960 and 1962. Checker’s version was actually a cover. The song had been a hit for its writer, Hank Ballard.

The YouTube clip offers some interesting in-studio commentary by Dick Clark before he introduces Checker. Here is more about Checker, whose real name is Ernest Evans.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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