During the late fifties Chubby Checker, born Everett Evans on 10/3/41, was an aspiring lounge singer. His life changed forever when he decided to record and release a former moderate hit by Hank Ballad & The Midniters. “The Twist” would become an international dance craze and reach number one on The United States singles charts fifty years ago this week.
People who were not alive at the time will have a difficult time realizing just how popular “The Twist” was during the early sixties. It was a fad similar to hula hoops and slinky’s as millions of teenagers and adults learned how to twist.
“The Twist” had a simplicity to it. Even the worst dancers could perform a credible twist. They were literally hundreds of versions released to cash in on its popularity and clubs opened which just featured the dance including the famous Peppermint Lounge in New York City. It would prove so popular that in early 1962 “The Twist” would become only one of two songs by the same artist to top the singles charts in different years. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby was the other and that occurred before the rock ‘n’ roll era.
Chubby Checker would go on to become the king of dance songs. “Let’s Twist Again,” “Pony Time,” “The Fly.” “Dancin’ Party,” “Twist It Up,” “Limbo Rock,” and “Slow Twistin’” all became hit singles in The United States.
Chubby Checker is still performing on the oldies circuit and twisting away. A happy fiftieth to one of the great dance crazes of the twentieth century.