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Dances

What other dances do we find?

The new rhythms multiplied incessantly. There were those whose direct references were the gestures of courtship between different animals, as in the cases of dog, bird, snake, pony, monkey, jerk, scratch, or Heebie Jeebie.

There were also others of more direct and incisive sexuality: the hoochie kootchie, shimmy, shake, hucklebuck; or which were difficult to classify: the madison, popeye, waddle, frug, block, boogaloo, etc. Dozens and dozens of dances.

The Ray Bryant Combo - Madison Time (1959)

A song cataloged as jazz and composed by Bryant himself with Eddie Morrison. It was one of the dances that had the most impact among the youth of the sixties.

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Ray Bryant was a pianist and songwriter born in Philadelphia. Before coming of age, he already accompanied musicians like Miles Davis. Later, in the late 1950s, gaining notoriety, he became independent and set up his own trio, The Ray Bryant Combo. The song Madison Time is included in the excellent soundtrack of the John Waters film, Hairspray (1978). He puts music to a scene in which the protagonist, Tracy Turnblad, dances madison, showing in detail the steps of the style.

Who were their performers?

In some cases, they were a one-day flower, with soloists or groups that only lasted a few weeks. But many front-line figures, like Rufus Thomas, Little Richard, or James Brown, became propagators.

In Spain, despite the yenka, the twist set up. There was little or nothing about the other dances, just a few touches of hully gully and jerk, and acceptable doses of madison. All of them from the hand of the Dynamic Duo and a rookie Mike Ríos. 

Chan Romero - Hippy Hippy Shake (1959)

A song of his own composition that made another new rhythm fashionable, this time by a North American rocker with Spanish descent.

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Robert Lee Romero was born in Billings, Montana, in 1941. His father was of Apache and Spanish descent, and his mother was Mexican, Cherokee, and Irish. An unconditional Elvis fan, Chan took over from another Chicano, Ritchie Valens, after he lost his life in a plane crash. They shared record label, manager, and even their Los Angeles home. He also made a great friendship with Valens' mother, to whom he always felt very close. The Beatles popularized the Hippy Hippy Shake song in the UK.

What was Cameo-Parkway?

The main dance factory in North America was the Cameo-Parkway company. Founded by the renowned team of producer-composers Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann, it had no rival between 1956 and 1967.

There many of the most significant names in the dance industry, such as Chubby Checker, recorded their songs. It was based in Philadelphia, guaranteeing its artists easy access to American Bandstand, a hugely popular television show.

The Dovells - Bristol Stomp (1957)

A song composed by Dave Appell and Kal Mann. It was used to help an effervescent Philly vocal quintet launch the stomp dance.

The song Bristol Stomp was written by two Cameo-Parkway label executives for the band of one of their children, Terry and the Appeljacks, from Bristol, Pennsylvania. As it failed to get onto the charts, the song was relaunched, shortly afterward, by The Dovells, a teen band formed in the Overbrook High School, in Philadelphia. They sold a million copies and got the gold record. This song was covered with great success by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, at a concert in Sweden in 1967.

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