Golden Oldie of the Week

28/05/2020

Classic tracks that still pack the perfect punch-
Chubby Checker
- 'The Twist' 

Whilst we are blessed with fresh new tunes at our fingertips on a daily basis, there's a multitude of bangers still waiting for the latest generation to rediscover them.


This week's golden oldie, which still hits home after sixty years, is Chubby Checker's US number one hit 'The Twist'. 


Chubby Checker, real name Ernest Evans, was born in 1941 and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Gaining a reputation in his youth for humours impressions of early rock and roll stars, such as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, Checker was quickly picked up by Dick Clark. Clark, host of popular music TV show American Bandstand, recorded a novelty single with Checker which charted at #38 in Spring 1958.


Seeing this success, Clark capitalised on Checker's vocal prowess and they recorded 'The Twist', a song originally recorded by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters two years previous, in Summer 1960.


The track was released in June the same year and quickly became a nationwide hit.


Not only was the simplicity of the catchy lyrics a pathway for easy endearment, Checker's accompanying dance swept the US off their feet, with 'the twist' seen in clubs across the country.


Checker himself moved his hips accordingly on a variety of TV appearances (see below) as the song continued to thrive in the outbreak of rock and roll.


More importantly however, the song is accredited with providing more acceptance to rock and roll in higher society, as well as older generations. Belatedly reaching adult audiences, Checker became the first rock act to top the charts with the same song in two separate chart runs.


Checker clung onto his taste of glory, re-releasing the track several times. He even had a hit the year following 'The Twist', with 'Let's Twist Again'.


The song's legacy holds significant cultural importance in the United States and now in 2020 sounds just as good, just as jovial, and just as free-spirited as it did sixty years ago.