Let’s twist again, like we did last summer!

The dance craze that set hips swiveling all over the world is about to celebrate its golden anniversary. In 1962, celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy and Truman Copote flocked to New York’s Peppermint Lounge to dance to the music of the house band, Joey Dee and the Starliters.

Their song, The Peppermint Lounge, reached number one on the American hit parade in January that year. Chubby Checker had already recorded his The Twist that began:

Come on everybody clap your hands
Now you’re looking good
I’m gonna sing my song and you won’t take long
We gotta do the twist and it goes like this

Checker toured Australia in early 1962 and pretty soon Sydney had its own Peppermint Lounge, run by Lee Gordon.

In January 1962, the English celebrity, Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes), took the dance floor in Sydney. No one’s looking at the band in this photo but I think it might be Johnny Devlin’s Twisters.

The photo is part of the State Library of New South Wales vast collection from the Australian Photographic Agency, started in 1953 by three former newspaper photographers, Norm Danvers, Alton ‘Curly’ Fraser and Jack Hickson. In 1989, Hickson donated the collection of 48,000 large format negatives to the library.

Incredibly, there is a website dedicated to the life and frisky times of Sabrina, with much, much more about her time in Australia and Lee Gordon – www.nylon.net/sabrina

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Sabrina at the Peppermint Lounge, Sydney

Sabrina at the Peppermint Lounge, Sydney, State Library of NSW, call number, Australian Photographic Agency – 11973