Chubby Checker, for better or worse, will always be associated with the dance craze, “The Twist.” The single topped The American Charts during 1960 and 1962. It was a rare dance that appealed to both adults and teens.
Ernest Evans grew up in Philadelphia where he was a friend of Fabian, who was a teen idol during the late 1950s and early 1960s thanks to some appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Evans came to the attention of Dick Clark who helped him obtain a recording contract. It was Clark’s wife who christened Evans, Chubby Checker.
Checker’s first hit was the novelty song, “The Class,” which was issued during 1959. A year later he took Hank Ballad and The Midnighters moderate hit, “The Twist,” to the top of the charts and his career path was set.
He would follow “The Twist” with a series of dance songs. “Let’s Twist Again” (number 8 chart hit), “Slow Twistin’” (#3), “Limbo Rock” (#2), “The Fly” (#7), “The Hucklebuck” (#14), “Twist It Up” (#25), and “Dance The Mess Around” (#24) made him the king of the dance floor during the early 1960s.
Fifty years ago his “Pony Time” was the number one single in The United States. It would remain in that position for three weeks. Lawrence Welk’s “Calcutta” had occupied the top slot for two weeks before being replaced by Checker. If there were ever two back to back number one hits that were completely different, these were the two.
“Pony Time” was another in his string of dance hits. It was a simple dance where you pretended to be riding a horse.
I don’t know if his dancing skill had anything to do with it, but Chubby would go on to marry Miss World 1962.
Chubby Checker is now just shy of 70 years old and is consistently on the road performing at clubs and on the oldies circuit.
A tip of the hat to his lesser known number one hit fifty years later.