Chubby Checker's 'The Twist' hits number 1 (1960)
Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evens on October 3rd, 1941 in South Carolina. As a child, he had a number of odd jobs including shoe shining and working at a local butcher, it was in his childhood that he got his nickname Chubby because of his heavy set build. He performed in the streets of Philadelphia before being scouted by Cameo-Parkway records in 1959, with the record label impressed by his uncanny ability to impersonate popular performers of the time like Fats Domino and Elvis Presley. Within the first year of his record contract, Checker had two minor hits, The Class and Dancing Dinosaur. Although initially resistant, the label encouraged him to record a version of Hank Ballad’s song The Twist, feeling that it would be a great fit for his style. The label’s instincts were correct and after an appearance on the popular television show, American Bandstand, the song shot to the top of the charts. With its lyrics that describe the steps to an accompanying dance, the song was seen as quite revolutionary as it encouraged couples to separate and dance apart (although still in unison). The song was number one twice in the US charts, once in 1960 and once in 1962, making it the only 45 track to achieve this!
Learn more about Chubby Checker and 60’s music with these fun activities!