Let Chubby Checker and The Wildcats show you how it’s done
Special to The Union
To celebrate 50 years of The Twist, The Center for the Arts will present rock and roll pioneer Chubby Checker in concert Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Space will even be available on the dance floor for Twistin’ the night away.
Checker has sold more than 250 million records worldwide to date, securing the No. 56 spot in all-time record sales. His National Chart Life is second only to Elvis!
In separate events, Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout will present Checker with the keys to the city followed by an appearance at the 11th annual Cruisin’ the Pines Car show at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans in Spring Gulley, S.C., but grew up in South Philadelphia, where he lived with his parents and two brothers. When he was a small boy, his mother took him to see Sugar Child Robinson, a child piano prodigy and also the famous country singer Ernest Tubb. Young Evans was so impressed, that he vowed to someday enter show business and took his first step toward that goal by forming a street corner harmony group when he was only 11 years old.
In June of 1959, Chubby recorded “The Twist.” Bernie Lowe, president of Cameo Parkway records was not initially impressed with Chubby’s recording and felt it may be a “B” side at best. However, Chubby felt “The Twist” was something special and worked hard promoting the record by undertaking non-stop rounds of TV dates, interviews and live performances. Fourteen months later, in the summer of 1960, “The Twist” was a hit.
“The Twist” was not only the No. 1 song but it introduced the concept of “dancing apart to the beat.” Over the next few years, endless songs incorporating “The Twist” into its name sprang up such as “Peppermint Twist,” “Twist and Shout” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.” In addition, each new song brought a new dance involving “dancing apart to the beat” such as “The Jerk,” “The Hully Gully,” “The Boogaloo” and “The Shake.” At the forefront was Chubby with “The Fly,” “The Pony” and “The Hucklebuck.”
In 2000, Chubby branched out into the snack food business commemorating 40 years of “The Twist” with Chocolate Checker Bars, Beef Jerky, Hot Dogs and
Popcorn, all to be washed down with Girl of the World Water (dedicated to his wife). Today, Chubby continues 40 years of live performances while releasing new studio music. His Maxi-Single “Limbo Rock Re-Mixes” and CD “The Original Master of the Dance Hall Beat” by Chubby C & OD, featuring Inner Circle, were both on the Billboard Charts attracting a new generation of Chubby Checker fans.
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