Hank Ballard

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Hank Ballard
Birth name John Henry Kendricks
Born (1927-11-18)November 18, 1927[1]
Detroit, Michigan, US
Died March 2, 2003(2003-03-02) (aged 75)
Los Angeles, US
Genres Rock and roll, R&B
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1951–2003
Labels Federal, King, People
Associated acts The Midnighters

Hank Ballard (born John Henry Kendricks; November 18, 1927 – March 2, 2003)[1] was a rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, the lead vocalist of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters and one of the first rock and roll artists to emerge in the early 1950s. He played an integral part in the development of the genre, releasing the hit singles "Work With Me, Annie" and answer songs "Annie Had a Baby" and "Annie's Aunt Fannie" with his Midnighters. He later wrote and recorded "The Twist" which spread the popularity of the dance and was notably covered by Chubby Checker.[2] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Early years[edit]

Born John Henry Kendricks in Detroit, Michigan, Ballard along with his brother, Dove Ballard, grew up and attended school in Bessemer, Alabama after the death of their father.[citation needed] He lived with his paternal aunt and her husband, and began singing in church. His major vocal inspiration during his formative years was the "Singing Cowboy", Gene Autry, and in particular, his signature song, "Back in the Saddle Again".[3] Ballard returned to Detroit in his teens and later worked on the assembly line for Ford.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters[edit]

In 1953, Ballard joined doo-wop group The Royals, which had previously been discovered by Johnny Otis and signed to Federal Records (a division of King Records), in Cincinnati. Ballard joined Henry Booth, Charles Sutton, Sonny Woods and Alonzo Tucker in the group, replacing previous singer Lawson Smith.

The Royals released "Get It" (1953), an R&B song with possibly sexually oriented lyrics, which some radio stations refused to play,[4] although it still made it to number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart.

The group then changed its name to The Midnighters to avoid confusion with The "5" Royales. In 1954, Ballard wrote a song called "Work with Me, Annie" that was drawn from "Get It".[4] It became The Midnighters' first major R&B hit, spending seven weeks at number 1 on the R&B charts and also selling well in mainstream markets, along with the answer songs "Annie Had a Baby" and "Annie's Aunt Fannie"; all were banned by the FCC from radio air play.[5] Their third major hit was "Sexy Ways", a song that cemented the band's reputation as one of the most risqué groups of the time.[4]

They had four other R&B chart hits in 1954–55, but no others until 1959, by which time the group was billed as "Hank Ballard and The Midnighters" with their label changed from Federal to King, the parent label. Between 1959 and 1961 they had several more both on the R&B and Pop charts, starting with "Teardrops on Your Letter", a number 4 R&B hit in 1960 that had as its B-side the Ballard-written song "The Twist". A few months later, Chubby Checker's cover version of the song went to number 1 on the pop charts. It would return to the top of the charts again in 1962[2] – the only song in the rock and roll era to reach number 1 in two different non-consecutive years.

Ballard & the Midnighters had several other hit singles onto 1962, including the Grammy-nominated "Finger Poppin' Time" (1960) and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" (1960) which hit number 7 and number 6, respectively, on the Billboard pop charts. They did not reach the charts again after 1962 and dissolved in 1965.

Later career and legacy[edit]

After the Midnighters disbanded, Ballard launched a solo career. His 1968 single, "How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven't Cut Your Process Yet)", was his biggest post-Midnighters hit, peaking at number 15 on the R&B chart. James Brown produced Ballard's 1969 album You Can't Keep a Good Man Down. A 1972 single, "From the Love Side", credited to Hank Ballard and the Midnight Lighters, went to number 43 on the R&B chart. Ballard also appeared on Brown's 1972 album Get on the Good Foot, in a track ("Recitation By Hank Ballard") that features Ballard describing Brown and the album.

During the 1960s, Ballard's cousin, Florence Ballard, was a member of the Detroit girl group The Supremes.

In the mid-1980s, Ballard re-formed The Midnighters and the group performed until 2002.

In 1990, Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the other Midnighters were inducted in 2012.[6]

On March 2, 2003, he died at age 75 of throat cancer in his Los Angeles home.[7] He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ballard was the great uncle of NFL player Christian Ballard.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • Note: Credited as Hank Ballard and the Midnighters unless stated otherwise.
Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart Positions Album
US Pop[8] US
R&B
[9]
1952 "Every Beat Of My Heart"
b/w "All Night Long"
The Royals
Non-album tracks
"Starting From Tonight"
b/w "I Know I Love You So"
The Royals
"Moonrise"
b/w "Fifth Street Blues" (Non-album track)
The Royals
Their Greatest Hits
"A Love In My Heart"
b/w "I'll Never Let Her Go"
The Royals
Non-album tracks
"Are You Forgetting"
b/w "What Did I Do"
The Royals
1953 "The Shrine Of St. Cecelia"
b/w "I Feel So Blue"
The Royals
"Get It"
b/w "No It Ain't" (Non-album track)
The Royals
6 Their Greatest Hits
"Hello Miss Fine"
b/w "I Feel That-A-Way" (from The Twistin' Fools)
The Royals
Non-album tracks
"That's It"
b/w "Someone Like You"
The Royals
1954 "Work With Me, Annie"
b/w "Until I Die" (from The Twistin' Fools)
Original pressings as by The Royals
Later pressings as by The Midnighters
22 1 Their Greatest Hits
"Sexy Ways"
b/w "Don't Say Your Last Goodbye" (from Singin' and Swingin')
The Midnighters
2
"Annie Had A Baby"
b/w "She's The One"
The Midnighters
1
"Annie's Aunt Fannie"
b/w "Crazy Loving (Stay With Me)
The Midnighters
10
"Stingy Little Thing"
b/w "Tell Them"
The Midnighters
Singin' and Swingin'
1955 "Moonrise"
b/w "She's The One"
The Midnighters
Their Greatest Hits
"Ashamed Of Myself"
b/w "Ring-A-Ling-A-Ling"
The Midnighters
Singin' and Swingin'
"Why Are We Apart"
b/w "Switchie Witchie Titchie" (from '"Their Greatest Hits)
The Midnighters
Mr. Rhythm and Blues
"Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)"
b/w "Whatsonever You Do" (from Singin' and Swingin')
"The Midnighters
14 Their Greatest Hits
"It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)"
b/w "Looka Here" (from Let's Go Again)
The Midnighters
10
"That Woman"
b/w "Give It Up" (from Mr. Rhythm and Blues)
The Midnighters
Let's Go Again
"Don't Change Your Pretty Ways"
b/w "We'll Never Meet Again" (from The Twistin' Fools)
The Midnighters
"Rock and Roll Wedding"
b/w "That House On The Hill"
The Midnighters
Singin' and Swingin'
1956 "Partners For Life"
b/w "Sweet Mama, Do Right" (from Singin' and Swingin')
The Midnighters
Volume 2
"Open Up The Back Door"
b/w "Rock, Granny, Roll" (from Let's Go Again)
The Midnighters
"Early One Morning"
b/w "Tore Up Over You" (from Their Greatest Hits)
The Midnighters
"I'll Be Home Someday"
b/w "Come On and Get It" (from Let's Go Again)
The Midnighters
Singin' and Swingin'
1957 "Let Me Hold Your Hand"
b/w "Ooh Ooh Baby" (from Singin' and Swingin')
The Midnighters
Volume 2
"E Basta Cosi"
b/w "In The Doorway Crying"
The Midnighters
"Is Your Love For Real"
b/w "Oh So Happy"
The Midnighters
"What Made You Change Your Mind"
b/w "Let 'Em Roll"
The Midnighters
1958 "Daddy's Little Baby"
b/w "Stay By My Side"
The Midnighters
"Baby Please"
b/w "Ow-Wow-Oo-Wee"
The Midnighters
Let's Go Again
1959 "Teardrops On Your Letter" / 87 4 Singin' and Swingin'
"The Twist" - 16
"Kansas City"
b/w "I'll Keep You Happy"
72 16 The One and Only
"Sugaree"
b/w "Rain Down Tears"
"Cute Little Ways"
b/w "House With No Windows"
"I Could Love You"
b/w "Never Knew"
Mr. Rhythm and Blues
"I Said I Wouldn't Beg You"
b/w "Look At Little Sister"
1960 "The Coffee Grind"
b/w "Waiting"
21
"Finger Poppin' Time"
Original B-side: "I Love You, I Love You So-o-o"
Later B-side: "I'm Thinking Of You" (from Spotlight On Hank Ballard)
7 2
"The Twist"
b/w "Teardrops On Your Letter"
Reissue
28 6 Singin' and Swingin'
"Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go"
b/w "If You'd Forgive Me"
6 1 Spotlight On Hank Ballard
1961 "The Hoochi Coochi Coo"
b/w "I'm Thinking Of You"
23 3
"Let's Go Again (Where We Went Last Night)"
b/w "Deep Blue Sea"
39 17 Let's Go Again
"The Continental Walk"
b/w "What Is This I See"
33 12 Dance Along
"The Switch-A-Roo" / 26 3
"The Float" 92 10
"Nothing But Good" / 49 9
"Keep On Dancing" 66 -
"Big Red Sunset"
b/w "Can't You See I Need A Friend"
"I'm Gonna Miss You"
b/w "Do You Remember" (from The Twistin' Fools)
1962 "Do You Know How To Twist"
b/w "Broadway"
Hank Ballard
87 The Twistin' Fools
"It's Twistin' Time"
b/w "Autumn Breeze"
Jumpin'
"Good Twistin' Tonight"
b/w "I'm Young" (from Dance Along)
"I Want To Thank You"
b/w "Excuse Me"
"Shaky Mae"
b/w "I Love and Care For You"
A Star In Your Eyes
"Bring Me Your Love"
b/w "She's The One" (from Their Greatest Hits)
"Christmas Time For Everyone But Me"
b/w "Santa Claus Is Coming"
Non-album tracks
1963 "(All The Things In Life That) Pleases You"
b/w "The Rising Tide"
The 1963 Sound
"(I'm Going Back To) The House On The Hill"
b/w "That Low Down Move"
"Walkin' and Talkin'"
b/w "How Could You Leave Your Man Alone"
"It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)"
b/w "Those Lonely Lonely Feelings"
A Star In Your Eyes
"I'm Learning"
b/w "Buttin' In" (from A Star In Your Eyes)
Jumpin'
1964 "These Young Girls"
b/w "I Don't Know How To Do But One Thing" (from A Star In Your Eyes)
Spotlight On Hank Ballard
"She's Got A Whole Lot Of Soul"
b/w "Stay Away From My Baby" (from A Star In Your Eyes)
The One and Only
"Daddy Rolling Stone"
b/w "What's Your Name" (from Jumpin')
Dance Along
"Let's Get The Show On The Road"
b/w "A Winner Never Quits"
Those Lazy, Lazy Days
"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"
b/w "Watch What I Tell You"
1965 "Poppin' The Whip"
b/w "You, Just You"
Non-album tracks
1966 "Sloop and Slide"
b/w "My Sun Is Going Down"
"Togetherness"
b/w "I'm Ready"
"(Dance With Me) Annie"
b/w "He Came Along"
1967 "Dance Till It Hurtcha"
b/w "Here Comes The Hurt"
"You're In Real Good Hands"
b/w "Unwind Yourself" (from You Can't Keep A Good Man Down)
"Which Way Should I Turn"
b/w "Funky Soul Train"
You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
1968 "Come On Wit' It"
b/w "I'm Back To Stay" (Non-album track)
"How You Gonna Get Respect"
b/w "Teardrops On Your Letter"
Hank Ballard along with "The Dapps"
15
1969 "You're So Sexy"
b/w "Thrill On The Hill"
Hank Ballard along with "The Dapps"
"Are You Lonely For Me Baby"
b/w "With You Sweet Lovin' Self"
"Butter Your Popcorn"
b/w "Funky Soul Train" (from You Can't Keep A Good Man Down)
Non-album tracks
"Blackenized"
b/w "Come On Wit' It" (from You Can't Keep A Good Man Down)
1970 "Love Made A Fool Of Me"
b/w "Sunday Morning Coming Down"
1972 "From the Love Side"
b/w "Finger Poppin' Time"
Hank Ballard and The Midnight Lighters
43
"Annie Had A Baby"
b/w "Teardrops On Your Letter"
Hank Ballard
"Finger Poppin' Time"
b/w "With Your Sweet Lovin' Self"
Hank Ballard
1974 "Let's Go Streaking" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
Hank Ballard
Hanging With Hank
1975 "Hey There Sexy Lady"
b/w Instrumental version of A-side
1979 "Freak Your Boom Boom" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
Non-album tracks

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hank Ballard (1927–2003) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 20 – Forty Miles of Bad Road: Early '60s potpourri" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 2.
  3. ^ "Hank Ballard". Bluesworld.com. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  4. ^ a b c Nite, Norm N. Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock n' Roll (The Solid Gold Years). Thomas Y. Crowell (1974), pp. 428–29. ISBN 0-690-00583-0.
  5. ^ "The Midnighters Biography". Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Midnighters: inducted in 2012 | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  7. ^ "Hank Ballard, Singer and songwriter, Is Dead – New York Times". Nytimes.com. March 4, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 36. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 20. 

External links[edit]