Billboard #1 Hits: #35 “The Twist”- Chubby Checker. September 19, 1960- 1 week at #1. Released on Parkway Records. Written by Hank Ballard. Genre: Pop. Time:2:34. B-side: “Toot” Grade: B.
“The Twist” was a phenomenon- both as a huge smash pop song and as a dance. But in it’s original version it wasn’t. Written by Hank Ballard- Ballard’s 1960 release peaked at a modest #28. There was no dance craze with Ballard’s version- it wasn’t until Chubby Checker aka Ernest Evans an 18 year old from Philadelphia covered the song-that it exploded. “The Twist” was unique as a pop single because it hit #1 in September 1960 [ it was Checker’s 2nd Hot 100 hit- in 1959 he made the Top 40 with a song called “The Class”} Then in November 1961 over a year the song due to the dance craze returned to #1 again for two weeks. It became the only record in the rock era to re-enter the charts and return to the #1 position.
Ernest Evans got his name change from Dick Clark’s wife- who suggested to Evans that due to his resemblance to a younger Fats Domino- he should become Chubby Checker. That’s where the resemblance ends- talent wise Domino towers over Checker. Checker did have in his career 35 Hot 100 hit singles- from 1959-88- but I don’t think I could name one other than “The Twist.”