Three curated, dance-themed compilations emphasising the legacy of Philadelphia’s Cameo Parkway label will be released by ABKCO Records on 19 June.
Today’s announcement falls on the date that, in 1961, Chubby Checker’s enduring smash ‘Let’s Twist Again’ won the Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Recording. The Philadelphia-raised entertainer is the subject of one of the new sets, Dancin’ Party: The Chubby Checker Collection 1960-1966.
It’s a definitive anthology of tracks from his career-defining era, naturally including ‘Let’s Twist Again’ along with his No. 1 hits ‘Pony Time’ and ‘The Twist,’ plus ‘Limbo Rock,’ ‘Slow Twistin” and many more.
Its sister release You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958-1964 gathers together the label’s most memorable dance-inspired releases of the period. Checker is again repressented along with other solo stars such as Dee Dee Sharp, Don Covay and Bobby Rydell, and such groups as the Orlons, the Dovells and the Applejacks.
The third collection, You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964-1967, celebrates releases on the label that became a key component of the UK’s Northern Soul club movement. There are tracks by Bunny Sigler, Eddie Holman, Candy & the Kisses, Frankie Beverly & the Butlers and Bobby Paris among numerous others.
The emergence of Lowe & Mann
Cameo Records had been founded in Philadelphia late in 1956 by budding songwriters Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann, who would be recognised by Elvis Presley’s recording of their ‘(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.’ They also wrote Cameo’s first hit, Charlie Gracie’s No. 1 US pop hit ‘Butterfly.”
The Parkway label was added to the stable in 1958 and by the following year, both labels were becoming industry powerhouses. Checker’s version of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ ‘The Twist’ became synonymous with the teen movement and helped Cameo Parkway’s expansion into one of the most successful independent companies in the business.
The company went public in 1961, becoming the first independent label to offer shares on the American Stock Exchange. In a life span of some 11 years, Cameo Parkway placed more than 100 singles and several dozen albums on the Billboard charts.
Dancin’ Party: The Chubby Checker Collection 1960-1966, You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958-1964 and You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964-1967 are released on 19 June. Pre-order them by clicking on each title.