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Peppermint Lounge

Peppermint Lounge, photo unidentified


The Peppermint Lounge featured live bands - usually Joey Dee & the Starliters - and despite its rough edges, began to attract celebrities to its dancefloor, where everybody was doing the Twist. Tennessee Williams, Merle Oberon and NoŽl Coward were regulars. Norman Mailer did the Twist with Lord Beaverbrook's granddaughter. High society enjoyed slumming it, and the socialites, sailors and salesmen sweated it out together in the noisy gloom, posing, cruising, ogling. Press fascination with the Peppermint Lounge and numerous releases (from Chubby Checker, especially), reissues and reworked songs eulogising the Twist made it rock'n'roll's first dance craze. It was shortlived and Chubby Checker went looking for the next big cash-in. In 1965 he released 'At the Discotheque' on the B-side of 'Do the Freddie'. Checker got it wrong: the Freddie disappeared to whatever heaven dead dance crazes go but, by the end of 1965, five thousand discotheques had opened in America. --Dave Haslam, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v22/n01/hasl02_.html [LRB | Vol. 22 No. 1 dated 6 January 2000 | Dave Haslam

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