The man who got everyone on their feet doing the twist came into this world as Ernest Evans. Later on, this American singer and songwriter changed his name to Chubby Checker. He made the twist practically a household word and a wild and crazy dance style with his 1958 hit “The Twist”. This single topped the list of the most popular singles on Billboard in 2008 which have made the Hot 100 since it made its debut in 1958 and has had the honor to maintain this position in an update of the list in 2013. Chubby Checker also popularized what is known as the Limbo Rock and the trademark limbo dance associated with it.
Looking for a way to get this singing career rolling Chubby Checker made a special recording for Dick Clark in which he played a school teacher faced with an unruly class which consisted of musical performers. In this recording, he did an imitation of various acts like The Coasters, Cozy Cole, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, and Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian as The Chipmunks each singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. When Dick Clark received the recording he sent the song out as his Christmas greeting. The responses to it were great and Checker was signed to the Cameo-Parkway record label. For the very first time, he introduced his version of “The Twist” in 1960 at the Rainbow Club in Wildwood, New Jersey and he was only 18.
He followed his success with this great song by coming out with other dance singles like “The Hucklebuck”, “The Fly”, “Dance the Mess Around” and “Pony Time” which became his second number one single. Chubby Checker won the 1961 Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Solo Vocal Performance for his follow up hit to “The Twist” called “Let’s Twist Again”. In 1962 he recorded a song singing a duet with Dee Dee Sharp “Slow Twistin’” and it reached number three on the national charts while “Limbo Rock” made it to number 2.
Chubby Checker became the only recording artist to have five albums in the Top 12 at the same time. He was popular and a millionaire by the time he reached 22. Most of the rest of the 1960s he spent touring and recording in Europe becoming a superstar and in 1963 he appeared on The Chubby Checker Show a special which was filmed in Stockholm, Sweden.
In the 1970s he recorded a psychedelic album which at first was only released in Europe and it was called Chequered and later on renamed New Revelation. In 1987 Chubby Checker made a new recording of his greatest hit “The Twist” with the rap trio The Fat Boys and sang this song in an Oreo cookie commercial in the 1990s. He went on to perform “The Twist” in different places from the Daytona 500 to The Opie and Anthony Show in 2008. Other recordings which he has done are “Knock Down the Walls” in July of 2008 and it rose to number one on the Billboard dance chart. In February of 2013 he recorded an inspirational ballad “Changes” which showcased him as a serious singer. Chubby Checker continues to perform regularly.