Singer and Songwriter Chubby Checker was born on 3rd October 1941 as Ernest Evans. Most famous for covering Hank Ballard's hit "The Twist" Checker is quoted as saying "...in a way, "The Twist" really ruined my life. I was on the way to becoming a big nightclub performer, and "The Twist" just wiped it out. It got so out of proportion. No one ever believes I have talent."
At the age of 8 a young chubby formed his first street corner harmony band and spent his school days impressing friends with impersonations of popular entertainers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and Elvis Presley. After school, Chubby would entertain customers at his various jobs, including Fresh Farm Poultry where he picked up the nickname Chubby from his boss. Store owner, Henry Colt, was so impressed by Chubby that he and colleague Karl Mann, who worked as a songwriter for Cameo-Parkway Records, arranged for Chubby to do a private recording for American Bandstand host Dick Clark. It was here he picked up his full stage name. Having just finished a Fats Domino impression, Clark's wife asked him his name to which he replied "well, my friends call me Chubby." to which she asked "As in checker?". These play on words (Fats/Chubby and Domino/Checker) got a laugh and stuck.
Chubby Checker's big break came when he performed his version of "The Twist" on The Clay Cole Show in July 1960 and went on to become the first single that reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 twice. Checker found success with an number of follow up tracks including "The Hucklebuck", "The Fly", "Dance the Mess Around" and "Pony Time" which hit number 1 in the US. In 1961 Checker released a follow up to "The Twist" called "Let's Twist Again" which won him a Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Solo Vocal Performance. His 1962 duet with Dee Dee Sharp ("Slow Twistin'") and "Limbo Rock" were his last 2 Top Ten US hits.
In 1987 he managed to again cash in on his "Twist" franchise and recorded a new version with rap trio The Fat Boys and he also sang in an Oreo commercial in the early 90s. 2008 saw "The Twist" named as the biggest chart hit of all time by Billboard Magazine.
Chubby Checker now owns his own restaurant but still performs as well.
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