Chubby Checker is 77 today

He introduced dance crazes such as “The Twist” during the early 1960’s

Chubby Checker is 77 today

Chubby Checker introduced new dance crazes to the mainstream during the early 1960’s, most notably, “The Twist” that made everybody in the whole world dancing to it. He was born on October 3, 1941 in Spring Gully, South Carolina, U.S.. His big break came when he auditioned for Dick Clark in 1959. The following year, Checker hit the charts with his version of rhythm and blues song by Hank Ballard, “The Twist”. Checker’s “Twist”, however, was a nationwide smash, aided by his many appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the Top 10 American Bandstand ranking of the song, and the teenagers on the show who enjoyed dancing the Twist. The song was so ubiquitous that Checker felt that his critics thought that he could only succeed with dance records typecasting him as a dance artist. “The Twist” went on to become the only single to top the Billboard Hot 100 twice, in two separate chart runs. Despite Checker’s initial disapproval, he found follow-up success with a succession of up-tempo dance tracks, including “The Hucklebuck” (#14), “The Fly” (#7), “Dance the Mess Around” (#24), and “Pony Time”, which became his second #1 single. Checker’s follow-up “twist” single, “Let’s Twist Again”, won the 1961 Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Solo Vocal Performance. A 1962 duet with Dee Dee Sharp, “Slow Twistin'”, reached #3 on the national charts. Other substantial hits included “Dancin’ Party”, “Popeye the Hitchhiker”, “Twenty Miles”, “Birdland”, “Loddy Lo”, and the Christmas duet with Bobby Rydell, “Jingle Bell Rock”. “Limbo Rock” reached #2 in the fall of 1962, becoming Checker’s last Top Ten Hit. By 1965 alone, “The Twist” had sold over 15 million copies, and was awarded multiple gold discs around the world. Checker continued to have Top 40, but changes in public taste ended his hit-making career and he spent much of the rest of the 1960’s touring and recording in Europe. Checker is the only recording artist to place five albums in the Top 12 all at once. The performer has often claimed to have personally changed the way we dance to the beat of music, as when he told Billboard, “Anyplace on the planet, when someone has a song that has a beat, they’re on the floor dancing apart to the beat. And before Chubby Checker, it wasn’t here.” Clay Cole agreed: “Chubby Checker has never been properly acknowledged for one major contribution to pop culture—Chubby and the Twist got adults out and onto the dance floor for the first time. Before the Twist dance phenomenon, grown ups did not dance to teenage music.”. Chubby Checker is married with former Dutch model Catharina Lodders since 1964. In 2002 Chubby Checker protested outside of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, over the lack of radio airplay of his hit “The Twist” and his perception that the Hall of Fame had snubbed him. Seymour Stein, president of the Rock Hall’s New York chapter and member of the nomination committee, claimed “I think that Chubby is someone who will be considered. He has in certain years.” Chubby Checker has wrote a significant and enduring piece of Rock and Pop history, Pop Expresso think Chubby should had been inducted decades ago to The Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. Do you also agree?

Watch Chubby Checker performing “The Twist” at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in 1960

Watch Chubby Checker performing “Let’s Twist Again” in 1961

 

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