Do Not “Twist” Your Opportunity

This morning, my kids, for some reason, began discussing the song  “The Twist.” I am not sure where they heard it unless it was mentioned in a Pokemon episode somehow, but I decided to join the conversation. First, I showed them how to do the twist (no we did not video that). Then they asked when that song came out.

My wife said in the 50’s while I said in the 60’s. Neither one of us were positive about our answer, so, I decided to investigate. We discovered we were both right! (Anytime a husband and wife can disagree about something and discover they were both right, well, that is a good day!)

twistThe song was actually recorded in 1959 as a B-side of a record by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. It became a hit for them in early 1960, peaking at number 28. The song was actually written by someone from a Gospel music group called The Sensational Nightingales. However, because of the connotations of the word twist (apparently it was a slang term for sex as recently as the 1930’s), the author did not want to record it. He allowed Hank Ballard and the Midnighters to record it instead.

twist3Dick Clark wanted Hank Ballard and the Midnighters to perform “The Twist” on American Bandstand. However, they were unavailable. So, Dick Clark began searching for a local singer to perform the song on American Bandstand. Dick Clark found…Chubby Checker! Chubby Checker performed the song before a national audience on American Bandstand and the rest, as they say, is history.

twist 2The Chubby Checker version of the song (which he recorded in late 1960) almost immediately went to number one, started a dance craze throughout the nation, and has been named the number one song of the decade for the 1960’s. Just think what Hank Ballard and the Midnighters missed out on because they were simply not available.

Today, very few people know who Hank Ballard and the Midnighters are. However, if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of pop music history, you know exactly who Chubby Checker is. This is a lesson in missed opportunities.

Lesson learned? Be available. You never know when opportunity will come knocking. Be ready! If you are not ready then get ready!

Opportunity may be at your door, but if you are not ready someone else will snatch it up. It may be the next person you meet. It may be the next interview you give. It may be the next speech you give or hand you shake,  It might be the next song you sing or the youtube video you make or it may be someone asking you to be in front of a national audience on T.V. Whatever it is, BE READY!!!


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

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