Hank Ballard (November 18, 1936 - March 2, 2003) was an American R&B singer and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was born in Detroit, Michigan but grew up in Bessemer, Alabama, where he sang in church. In 1951, Ballard moved back to Detroit and formed a doo wop group. He soon joined a group called The Royals, along with Henry Booth, Charles Sutton, Sonny Woods and Alonzo Tucker. The Royals had already signed to Federal Records when Ballard joined, and the group soon released "Get It" (1953), a major R&B hit.
The Royals' first major hit was "Work With Me Annie", a R&B hit that also sold well in mainstream markets, along with the answer song "Annie had a Baby". The group changed their name to The Midnighters to avoid confusion with The Five Royales. Their next major hit was "Sexy Ways", a song which cemented the band as one of the most risque groups of the time. This was to be the last major hit for The Midnighters. Sutton was replaced by Lawson Smith, while Thrasher was replaced by Sonny Woods. Tucker was replaced first by Arthur Porter and then Cal Green.
In 1959, Ballard's "The Twist" was released as a B-side for "Teardrops on Your Letter". Chubby Checker then took "The Twist" to #1 twice. Though this brought about a The Midnighters-renaissance that lasted only a few years before the group dissolved. Ballard tried to launch a solo career, working with James Brown. Though he later tried to reform The Midnighters, the new line-ups never achieved much success.
"If you're looking for youth, you're looking for longevity, just take a dose of rock 'n' roll. It keeps you going. Just like the caffeine in your coffee. Rock 'n' roll is good for the soul, for the well being, for the psyche, for your everything. I love it. I can't even picture being without rock 'n'roll." - Hank Ballard