1960 Danny and the Juniors – Twistin’ USA
Danny Rapp, Frank Maffei, Joe Terry, and Dave White met while singing together while in junior high school in Philadelphia in the mid-fifties. They started appearing at parties and minor events as the Juvenaires.
Record producer John Madara began working with the group and introduced them to Artie Singer, who ran Singular Records. Artie, John, and Dave wrote the song Do The Bop and recorded it as a single.
The record did not even do well locally. When they presented the song to Dick Clark, he suggested they change their name to the Juniors and then change the name of the song to At The Hop. That led them to change a few of the lyrics as well. The new recording began doing well, but had trouble breaking outside of the local area.
Dick Clark had a solution for them: in exchange for half the publishing rights, he would promote the record (primarily on American Bandstand). Fortunately for all involved, that sort of payola wasn’t illegal yet. ABC-Paramount Records licensed the national distribution for the record and after the group appeared on Dick’s show, sales exploded. The record sat at the top of the Hot 100 for five weeks at the start of 1958.
Dave wrote the group’s next single, Rock N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and Artie produced it. The single peaked at #19 on the Hot 100.
The group had one more single stall at #39 and couldn’t get near the Hot 100 until 1960. That year band moved to Swan Records (which Dick Clark had a financial interest in).
Kal Mann wrote Twistin’ USA and Danny and the Juniors reached #29 on the Hot 100 with their recording. The song hit the chart about a month after Chubby Checker’s The Twist first arrived on the Hot 100.
The group never reached the top forty again. David left the group, and the others remained together and kept recording until 1964.
The band reformed several times, and by 1976 there were two bands touring as Danny and the Juniors: one led by Danny, and one led by Joe and Frank.
Danny died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head in 1983.
Joe and Frank’s version of the group still continues to tour.
David continued producing and writing songs, often with John. His biggest hits included You Don’t Own Me by Leslie Gore and 1-2-3 and Like A Baby by Len Barry. He also was a member of several other groups from time to time.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.
You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!