Top acts in music and comedy highlight LPAC fall season
See Howie Mandel on Sept. 8
Merdies Hayes | 8/4/2017, midnight
The Manhattan Transfer’s first hit was “Operator” in 1975. The song was an immediate hit on radio stations as the group’s four-part a cappella stylings became a pleasant diversion from disco and rock ‘n roll. Soon there would be “The Manhattan Transfer Show” Sunday nights on CBS. In 1978 Masse was injured in a car crash and decided not to return to the group. Cheryl Bentyle replaced her and the group developed the sound that audiences know today. Their biggest hits from this period was “Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone” and “Birdland,” the latter tune winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance.
In 1981 The Manhattan Transfer became the first group to win Grammy Awards in both pop and jazz categories in the same year. More Grammy Awards followed in 1982 and 1983 for “Route 66” and “Why Not!” respectively. All totaled, The Manhattan Transfer has received 12 Grammy Award nominations and compiled a 10-year sweep (1980-1990) as the “Best Vocal Group” in both the annual DownBeat and Playboy jazz polls. Tickets to see The Manhattan Transfer are $37 and $32.
Chubby Checker, who popularized the most famous dance in pop music history, “The Twist,” will appear on Oct. 20.
Although Earnest Evans (his given name) was born in South Carolina, he grew up in Philadelphia. While working as a box boy at a poultry market, he was already covering the latest hit records and, by chance, the owner of the market knew Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” fame. In 1959 he did a Christmas song for Clark, “Jingle Bells,” and the famous dance show host sent this recording to all of his friends in the music business.
Not long after, Chubby Checker recorded his version of Hank Ballard’s hit “The Twist” and it was a smash around the world. “The Twist” was the forerunner of a number of songs featuring that title such as “Peppermint Twist” (Joey Dee), “Twist and Shout” (Isley Brothers/Beatles) and “Twistin’ the Night Away” (Sam Cooke). “The Twist” was arguably the first “party song” of the rock ‘n roll era; from then on each new hit song on AM radio brought about a new dance such as “The Jerk,” “Mashed Potato,” “Hully Gully,” “The Boogaloo” and “The Shake.” At the forefront of all of these tunes was Chubby Checker and his songs “The Fly,” “The Pony” and “The Hucklebuck.” “The Twist” was such a sensation that Cameo-Parkway records re-released it in 1962. It spent another nine months on the U.S. bestseller charts.
For a time, Chubby Checker merchandise was everywhere, and included T-shirts, shoes, ties, dolls, raincoats, lunch boxes...even chewing gum. More hits followed such as “Slow Twistin’”, “Dancin’ Party,” “Limbo Rock,” “Birdland” and “Twist It Up.” Tickets to see Chubby Checker are $44 and $39.
The Lancaster Performing Arts Center is located at 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. For tickets or more information, call (661) 723-5950 or visit www.lpac.org.