Hank Ballard and the Midnighters Biography
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters were a rhythm and blues band that had a significant influence on rock & roll in the 1950s. They were recognized as the most risqué R&B group of their day and created a number of very famous tunes. They were the original recorders and writers of “The Twist,” which spawned a dance sensation in the early 1960s after Chubby Checker recorded a copy of the tune. The group consisted of Hank Ballard, Frank Stanford, Wesley Hargrove, Norman Thrasher, and Henry Booth in 1960, after a lot of changes.
The Royals were the original name of the Midnighters. Henry Booth and Charles Sutton formed the group in late 1950 or early 1951, and the original lineup is claimed to have included Levi Stubbs (later of the Four Tops) and Jackie Wilson. The personnel consisted of lead singers Booth and Sutton, harmony vocalists Lawson Smith and Sonny Woods, and guitarist Alonzo Tucker when bandleader Johnny Otis spotted the group at the Paradise Theater in Detroit in 1952 and suggested it to Federal Records producer Ralph Bass. The Royals’ first waxing, “Every Beat of My Heart” by Otis Redding, was led by Booth (later a smash for Gladys Knight and the Pips).
Sonny Til and the Orioles were a big part of the Royals’ early style. In 1953, Smith was replaced by Hank Ballard, who had grown up singing in church in Bessemer, Alabama. The 16-year-old former Ford assembly line worker was inspired by the Dominoes’ Clyde McPhatter to become lead singer, bringing to the group a hard gospel edge and a suitcase full of rhythm-charged, frequently obscene tunes, beginning with 1953’s “Get It.”
Hank Ballard born on November 18, 1927 was an American musician and songwriter who was the main vocalist of The Midnighters and one of the original rock and roll artists in the early 1950s. With his Midnighters, he released the smash singles “Work With Me, Annie” and “Annie Had a Baby” as well as answer songs “Annie’s Aunt Fannie” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie.” He later created and recorded “The Twist” (in 1959). In 1990, he was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
To prevent confusion with the Five Royals, another hard, gospel-styled R&B group, the Royals changed their name to the Midnighters as “Work With Me Annie” gained traction in early 1954.
The Midnighters stayed on top for a year and a half after “Annie” and its sequels, after which they took a three-and-a-half-year hiatus from the charts. During this time, Smith took over for Sutton, Norman Thrasher took over for Woods, and guitarist Cal Green took over for Arthur Porter, who had previously taken Tucker’s place. Federal Records appeared to be betting on a new band, James Brown and the Famous Flames, who fashioned their scorching style after the Midnighters to a large extent.
By 1965, the Midnighters had disbanded, and Hank Ballard had embarked on a solo career, but he was unable to match the group’s popularity. In the 1980s, Ballard reformed the Midnighters without any of the original members and performed with them into the 1990s. Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Midnighters in 2012. Henry Booth, Charles Sutton, Lawson Smith, Sonny Woods, Cal Green, Arthur Porter, Billy Davis, and Norman Thrasher were among the inducted members, the majority of whom had died. Ballard died of throat cancer at his Los Angeles home in 2003. He was 75 years old at the time.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Did Hank Ballard and the Midnighters Last Perform?
The Midnighters’ last performance was in 2006. Hank Ballard had retired from performing by then, and the group only occasionally reunited for special occasions. Their final public performance was at the Detroit Music Awards.
What Date Was The Record “I’Ll Keep You Happy” By Hank Ballard &The Midnighters Released?
The record “I’ll keep you happy” by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters was released on January 1, 1955.
Who Were The Midnighters Behind Hank Ballard?
The Midnighters were a 1950s rhythm and blues group from Detroit, Michigan. The group was originally formed in 1951 by Hank Ballard, lead singer and songwriter, and his friend Calvin Frazier. The original lineup also included Andrew “Fats” Wright on bass, Johnny Griggs on drums, and Richard Street on tenor saxophone. The group’s first hit, “Work with Me, Annie”, was released in 1954 and peaked at number one on the Billboard R&B chart. The song was banned from many radio stations due to its suggestive lyrics, but it still managed to sell over a million copies.
When Was Work With Me Annie By Hank Ballard and the Midnighters Released ?
The song “Work with Me, Annie” was released in 1954 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. The song was a massive hit, reaching the top of the R&B charts and becoming a crossover success. It has since become a classic of rock and roll, being covered by numerous artists over the years.
What Year Was Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Finger Poppin Time-Released?
The song “Finger Poppin’ Time” was released in 1959.