Percolator (Twist)

Album: Collector's Delight, Volume 1 (1962)
Charted: 10


  • This is a rare rock song with a marimba (heavily damped) as the lead instrument. At the time, many people brewed coffee at home using percolators, which were pots that cycled the boiling water through the coffee grounds. They would often make little chiming sounds as they percolated, so Maxwell House created a commercial (Perky!) where the percolator played a jingle as it brewed the coffee. This jingle was the basis for the song, which emulated it with the marimba.
  • Billy Joe (born Louis Bideu) (a.k.a. "Billy Joe Hunter" and "Lew Bedell") had a local TV show in New York in the 1950s: The Lew Bidell Show.
  • Originally called "Percolator," the title was slightly modified by the producer to tie in with the Twist craze, indicating that this was a record for dancing the twist, even though it was not at all danceable and had nothing to do with The Twist.
  • An instrumental running 2:09, this song was often used by disc jockeys as a bed to provide background music over spoken segments like weather reports and call-ins.

Comments: 4

  • Tony from Sydney, AustraliaThere is no "xylophone" at all on this track. The featured instrument, which gives the track its unique sound is a MARIMBA, which is a percussion instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars laying horizontal. Ernie Freeman, who was the brains and arranger behind "Percolator", hired Julius Wechter, the top marimba player on the West Coast for the session and had him wrap a chamois cloth around each of his 2 mallets to get the sound he wanted. "Percolator" was recorded at Conway Recorders studio, Hollywood on 20th November 1961 and engineered by a young Shel Talmy. Joining Ernie and Wechter in the studio was master guitarist René Hall, Red Callender on bass and Earl Palmer on drums. Wechter later went on to form the Baja Marimba Band. The 'Billy Joe' billed on the Dore record label was a pseudonym for Lew Bedell, the label's owner. Bedell had no involvement in the recording of "Percolator".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1962 {March 11th} "Percolator (Twist)" by Billy Joe and the Checkmates peaked at #10 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    It wasn't the only 'Twist' record on the Top 100 on March 11th, 1962, there were ten other 'Twist' records on the chart at the time:
    At #13. "Twistin' the Night Away" by Sam Cooke
    #14. "Slow Twistin'" by Chubby Checker
    #15. "Dear Lady Twist" by U.S. Bonds
    #20. "Hey, Let's Twist" by Joey Dee And the Starliters
    #24. "The Twist" by Chubby Checker
    #41. "Peppermint Twist - Part One" by Joey Dee and the Starliters
    #46. "Twistin' Postman" bt the Marvelettes
    #63. "The Alvin Twist" by the Chipmunks
    #78. "Soul Twist" by King Custis
    #79. "La Paloma Twist" by Chubby Checker
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department; there was also two other 'dance' records on the chart, "(Do The New) Continental" by the Dovells {at #42} and "Mashed Potatoes - Part One" by Steve Alaimo {at #81}...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThis record peaked at No. 10 and stayed in the Top 100 for 15 weeks!!! {It was Billy Joe and the Checkmates only record to make the Top 100}
  • Joseph from Attleboro, MaGuys, if your going to write a comment , let's give every one a piece of the pie ...1962, dore records, la, calif. Ernie Freeman,Xylophone,Rene Hall, Guitar,Mr.RED Callender,Bass and one of THE DRUMMERS WHO EVER LIVED...THE LATE, GREAT, EARL PALMER...wE ALL HAVE TO START GIVING THESE GUY'S THE CREDIT THEY ARE DUE...THANKS FOR A GRAT WEB SITE
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