Born Ernest Evans on October 3, , in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, he worked in a local poultry shop while in high school, and while on the job often entertained customers by singing and cracking jokes. His workplace antics helped win an audition with the local Cameo-Parkway label, who signed the fledgling singer in ; at the suggestion of no less than Dick Clark's wife, the portly youth was re-christened Chubby Checker, the name a sly reference to Fats Domino. Checker's first single, "The Class," showcased his skills as an impressionist; while the record became a minor novelty hit, none of its immediate follow-ups were successful. The single rocketed to number one during the autumn of , remaining on the charts for four months; some time after it dropped off, it slowly returned to prominence, and in late it hit number one again; the only record ever to enjoy two stays at the top more than a year apart. After "The Twist" first made Checker a superstar, he returned to the top in with "Do the Pony"; that same year, he also reached the Top Ten with "Let's Twist Again," which assured the dance's passage from novelty to institution. In total, Checker notched 32 chart hits before the bubble burst in ; as interest in dance novelties dwindled, he briefly turned to folk music, and became a regular on the nightclub circuit.
How the Twist Worked
Chubby Checker and the Twist - How the Twist Worked | HowStuffWorks
The stage name, they say, is rooted in a childhood nickname, "Chubby," combined with an observation by Dick Clark's wife that Ernest looked like a chubby Fats Domino checkers and dominoes -- get it? But the song that made Chubby Checker a star was actually a cover; "The Twist" was first performed by a group called Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, but it didn't really take off. In , Chubby recorded it -- and again, it didn't make much of an impact. His producers slotted it to be a B-side [source: ChubbyChecker ].
The Twist (song)
Kennedy, at age In her role as First Lady, as national hostess and cultural leader, Jackie Kennedy was quite on top of the arts and music scene of her day, and The Twist, it seems, would not be left out. Cassini was also involved with a New York nightclub where the the Twist was popular.
Chubby Checker 's cover version of the song gave birth to the Twist dance craze. His single became a hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot on September 19, , where it stayed for one week, and setting a record as the only song to reach number 1 in two different hit parade runs when it resurfaced and topped the popular hit parade again for two weeks starting on January 13, This version reached number 2 in the United Kingdom and number 1 in Germany.