Tales from the Atomic Age

The Twist: Ballard's Brainchild, Checker's Change of Fortune

New dances were competing for the spotlight left and right around this time. The Hully Gully and the Watusi were hot, and then it was "Mashed Potato Time" in the spring of '62, a smash for Checker's slow-twist partner Dee Dee Sharp, who replaced the cigarette stamping with an imaginary mess of gooey potatoes on the dance floor. The Twist continued to stave off all comers; The Isley Brothers had a lot to do with keeping it alive. "Twist and Shout" had unsuccessfully entered... MORE ››

Top 100 Lists

Ray Charles

Two early classics by Ray Charles are represented on the list of the Top 100 Atlantic-Atco Hits of the '50s and '60s! Check out the other 98 great hits ... MORE ››

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The Zombies

It's an often-told story: a band forms, has a few hits, becomes disillusioned with the inner workings of the record business and calls it quits. In the case of The Zombies, there's one wrinkle: once disbanded, they had another hit. A very big one. Yet they resisted any temptation to reverse direction. Still, an eventual regrouping took place, as much fan-driven as the realization by individual members that the experience had, perhaps, been prematurely cut short. Three students at St. Albans School (in the city of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, about 25 miles north of central London) formed the group around 1961: Paul Atkinson played guitar, Hugh Grundy favored the drumkit and Rod Argent sang, though not too well he figured, and played organ. The much-needed lead ... MORE ››

Vinyl Attack Arthur Lyman Group

Yellow Bird
by the Arthur Lyman Group

The "exotica" craze of the 1950s got under way in the decade's first year with Peruvian "princess" Yma Sumac's Voice of the Xtabay, the surprise hit album largely responsible for popularizing so-called "jungle rhythms." Within a few years, interest had spread from South America to various Pacific and Caribbean islands. Calypso music became... MORE ››