1962 – The Year of Chubby Checker and The Twist
Chubby Checker’s version of The Twist came out August 1, 1960 and he followed it up with non-stop touring, The Hucklebuck, Pony Time, Let’s Twist Again, and repeated The Twist with a second release on November 13, 1961.
The Twist was first shown to the public via American Bandstand, which originated as simply Bandstand, a local show in Philadelphia in 1952, but went national in 1957 on the ABC network. On August 6, 1960, American Bandstand host Dick Clark introduced Chubby Checker and ‘The Twist’ on his nationally televised Saturday evening version of the show.
Written and performed by Hank Ballard (& the Midnighters), details are fuzzy about The Twist either being recorded anew by Chubby for public consumption or if Hank couldn’t make the live performance. Most likely, it would take something huge to not make it for an opportunity to appear on a national show that nearly every teenager watched, so Chubby, a new fresh face, was booked for the event.
The Twist, in itself, introduced the concept of not dancing with a partner, or as Chubby called it “dancing apart to the beat.” His other dances were for solo dancing as well – The Fly, Pony Time, and The Hucklebuck were examples his his being the “new” dance instructor for the nation (and the world).
For eons there were two types of acceptable dancing – couples and line dancing.
Now there are three.
Ernest Evans became ‘Chubby Checker’ (his name is based on the popularity of another black singer – Fats Domino) for his professional singing career. Chubby wasn’t shy about taking full credit for the success of The Twist, even decades later, as a paid full-page advertisement in Billboard Magazine indicated. Christopher Bickel from Dangerous minds still has his copy of the ad.
Chubby Checker said (pretty much correctly) that “If you go to every supermarket in the world, not in America, but on the whole planet, every company has a “twist” product. Everybody. If you go to buy some gas and go to a store and you want to buy some snacks, no matter where you are, somebody’s doing The Twist. And why are they doing that? Because of Chubby Checker. People look at me, like who do you think you are and it’s not that, it’s not that at all, no one can say what I’m saying because no one has a career that can say this, but the way that we dance on the dance floor after Chubby Checker left American Bandstand, those dances with The Twist, The Pony, The Fly, The Shake, The Hucklebuck would be on the dance floor to everybody’s music.”
It’s true… he did change the music world in a way very few have ever touched.
Chubby had a song called Let’s Do The Freddie based on a song (and dance) by Freddy and the Dreamers called Do The Freddy in 1965.
In Pulp Fiction‘s Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest, the song used is Chuck Berry’s 1964 hit, You Never Can Tell. Uma Thurman and John Travolta go through several styles of dance, including the Twist, the Swim, the Dog Fight, the Boogaloo and the Bat-usi.
Here is a listing of many of the “Twist” related hits and non-charting (n/c) and international versions.
The Twist – Chubby Checker (#1)
The Twist – Hank Ballard and the Midnighters* (#28)
*original (first) version- The “B Side” of “Teardrops on Your Letter”.
Kissin’ and Twistin’ – Fabian (#91)
(Let’s Do) The Hully Gully Twist – Bill Doggett (#66)
Twistin’ Bells – Santo & Johnny (#49)
Twistin’ USA – Danny and the Juniors (#27)
Big Ben Twist – Fats and His Chessmen (n/c)*
*Fats did several Twist songs.
Buzz Saw Twist – The Gee Cees (n/a)
Dear Lady Twist – Gary ‘U.S.’ Bonds (#9)
Guitar Boogie Twist – Burt Blanca (na/)
Kissin’ Twist – Jack Hammer (n/a)
Let Me Do My Twist – Jo Ann Campbell (n/c)
Let’s Twist Again – Chubby Checker (#8)
Florida Twist – Bill Haley & His Comets (n/c)
Spanish Twist/Twist Español – Bill Haley & His Comets (n/c)
Tequila Twist – The Champs (#99)
The Continental Twist – Louis Prima with Sam Butera & The Witnesses (n/c)
Twist Around the Clock – Clay Cole & the Capris (n/c)
Twistin’ USA – Chubby Checker (#68)
XMas Twist – Twistin’ Kings (n/c)
Alvin Twist – The Chipmunks (#40)
Arkansas Twist – Bobby Lee Trammell (n/c)
Basie Twist – Count Basie (#94)
Bo’s Twist – Bo Diddley (n/c)
Bristol Twistin’ Annie – The Dovells (#27)
Celebrity Twist – Oliver Twist – Rod McKuen
Do The President Twist – Lulu Reed & Freddy King (n/c)
Do You Know How To Twist? – Hank Ballard and The Midnighters (#87)
Everybody’s Twistin’ – Frank Sinatra (#75)
Guitar Boogle Shuffle Twist – The Ventures (#96)
Hey, Let’s Twist – Joey Dee & the Starliters (#20)
Kissin’ Twist (Kiss ‘n’ Twist) – Connie Francis (n/c)
La Paloma Twist – Chubby Checker (#72)
Mama Don’t Allow No Twistin – Bo Diddley (n/c)
Meet Me At The Twistin’ Place – Johnnie Morisette (#63)
Mister Twister – Connie Francis (n/c)
Oliver Twist – Rod McKuen (#76)
Party Twist – The Firestones (n/c)
Patricia Twist – Perez Perado (#65)
Percolator (Twist) – Billy Joe & the Checkmates (#10)
Quien Sera Twist – Perez Prado (n/c)
Rock-A-Hula Baby (“Twist” Special) – Elvis Presley (#23)
Slow Twistin’ – Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp (#3)
Soul Twist – King Curtis (#17)
Sugartime Twist – McGuire Sisters (#107)
The Peppermint Twist – Joey Dee and the Starliters (#1)
Tampico Twist – Los Beatniks (n/c)
Teach Me How To Twist – Connie Francis (n/c)
Tequila Twist – The Champs (#96)
The Lady Wants To Twist – Steve Lawrence (#120)
The Monster Twist – Tyrone A’Saurus And His Cro-Magnons (n/c)
The Twist – Chubby Checker (#1)
The Twist – Ernie Freeman (#93)
The Twister – Bo Diddley (n/c)
Twist and Shout – The Isley Brothers (#17)
Twist-Her – Bill Black’s Combo (#26)
Twistin’ All Night Long – Danny and the Juniors with Freddy Cannon (#68)
Twistin’ and Kissin’ – Ronnie & the Hi-Lites (n/c)
Twistin’ Fever – The Marcals (#103)
Twistin’ Matilda (And The Channel) – Jimmy Soul (#22)
Twistin’ Postman – The Marvelettes (#34)
Twistin’ the Night Away – by Sam Cooke (#9)
Twistin’ with Linda – The Isley Brothers (#54)
Twistin’ White Silver Sands – Bill Black’s Combo (#92)
Twisting Bells – Santo and Johnny (#49)
Twisting with the King – King Curtis (n/c)
Twist, Twist Senora – Gary U.S. Bonds (#9)
Wobble Twist – King Curtis (#119)
Ya Ya Twist – Petula Clark (n/c)
Bossa Nova Watusi Twist – Freddy King (#103)
Twist It Up – Chubby Checker (#25)
Yyterin Twist – Timo Jämsen & The Strangers (n/c)
Twist and Shout – The Beatles (#2)
Twistin’ The Night Away – Rod Stewart (#59)
Twisting by the Pool – Dire Straits (#17)
Yo, Twist! – Fat Boys with Chubby Checker (#16)
Twisting – They Might Be Giants (n/c)
Wilbury Twist – The Traveling Wilburys (n/c)
The Denial Twist – The White Stripes (n/c)
Then I Go Twisting – Erasure (n/c)
This story first appeared on HotPopSongs.com