Hank Ballard was born November 18, 1927
(according to his birth records) in Detroit, but moved to Bessemer, AL,
as a young child following his father's death. There he began singing in
church and when he returned to Detroit at age 15, he set about forming a
doo wop group while working on the Ford assembly line. The consensus of
opinion is that Hank Ballard hitched on to the Royals whose charter
members included Jackie Wilson and Levi Stubbs. The group changed its
name to The Midnighters to avoid confusion with The "5"
Royales". In 1959, Hank Ballard's "The Twist" gained some
notice and found a fan in American Bandstand host Dick Clark, who
brought the song to Chubby Checker's attention; the rest is history, as
"The Twist" became the first song to hit number one during two
completely separate chart runs. Ballard and the Midnighters benefited
from the exposure, scoring their first Top Ten pop singles in 1960 with
"Finger Poppin' Time" and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go.
In 1990 Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hank
Ballard died on March 2, 2003 in his Los Angles home of throat cancer.