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.
Chubby Checker - Singer - Biography
In September , "The Twist" topped Billboard ' s list of the most popular singles to have appeared in the Hot since its debut in , an honor it maintained for an August update of the list. He entertained his classmates by performing vocal impressions of popular entertainers of the day, such as Jerry Lee Lewis , Elvis Presley and Fats Domino. It was his boss at the Produce Market, "Tony A. The owner of Fresh Farm Poultry, Henry Colt, was so impressed by the boy's performances for the customers that he, along with his colleague and friend Kal Mann, who worked as a songwriter for Cameo-Parkway Records ,  arranged for young Chubby to do a private recording for American Bandstand host Dick Clark. At this recording session Evans got his stage name from Clark's wife, who asked Evans what his name was. As he had just completed a Fats Domino impression, she smiled and said, "As in Checker? Checker privately recorded a novelty single for Clark in which the singer portrayed a school teacher with an unruly classroom of musical performers.
Let's Twist Again
Evans attracted the attention of Dick Clark, host of the national television show American Bandstand, in the late s. Clark wanted to send out a Christmas phonograph record to friends, one that consisted of holiday greetings from singers imitating rock and roll stars. This dance was unknown outside the African American community, where it had achieved some popularity. The associated dance craze crossed over to the mainstream and became an international phenomenon, spawning records of the same genre by many artists in the United States and abroad. During the early s Checker had thirty more chart hits.
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