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Rock Legend Still Twisting

Rock Legend Still Twisting



Who: Chubby Checker
Where: Newcastle Panthers
When: Tuesday December 7, 2004

THERE have been plenty of dance crazes over the years but CHUBBY CHECKER remains the unrivalled king of rock'n'roll's most famous, The Twist.

Checker was born EARNEST EVANS and grew up in Philadelphia.

with his parents and two brothers. When he was young, his mother took him to see child piano prodigy SUGAR CHARLES ROBINSON. He was so impressed he vowed to enter show business.

By the entered high school he had learned to play drums and piano and could do vocal impressions. He sang at his after-school job at a meat market where the owner was so impressed that he arranged for him to do a recording for DICK CLARK. The result was a novelty tune called, The Class, on which Checker did impressions of recording stars.

Clark sent it out as a Christmas greeting in 1958 and it got such good response that it was released commercially and Checker was signed the following year.

During the recording session, Clark's wife asked Checker what his name was and he answered, ``Well, my friends call me Chubby''.

As he completed a FATS DOMINO impression, she smiled and said, ``As in Checker?'', and the name stuck.

While this was going on, a band called HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS worked up a dance routine to liven up its show at an Atlanta roadhouse. Ballard wrote a tune to go with it and three weeks later, the band recorded the original version of The Twist. Clark was quick to notice it was a huge hit with teenagers and booked the band for his show but it didn't show up so Clark suggested Checker should record the song.

Legend has it that after three weeks of demonstrating The Twist, he had lost nearly 30 pounds. The Twist became a dance sensation and scores of twist tunes followed such as The Peppermint Twist, The Oliver Twist and others.

In 1961 record industry history was made when Checker's original hit record The Twist re-entered the charts and hit the top again the following year.

Checker's success has continued with one dance record after another.

He will perform at NEWCASTLE PANTHERS on Tuesday, December 7.



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