With the advent of 'The Twist' dance sensation, a whole generation of dance tunes came to be, the Pony, the Pepprmint Twist, the Mash Potatoes, etc... but none of those ever had the impact of the original dance and record. It's a bit of a complicated story.
The song, "The Twist," was originally recorded by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, who did the dance in their stage show, and was a hit on the R&B charts and black radio stations; then Chubby covered it and with the help of Dick Clark who broke it on Bandstand, and the record became one of the biggest selling singles of all time. But it was a hat trick, and the next summer, "Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer," was also a smash, and kept the Twisting craze alive.
Chubby's real name is Ernest Evans. He was a lad of only 18 when found by Dick Clark in 1959. He had been called Chubby in High School, and Dick's wife played off the name, Fats Domino, to come up with the Checker part. He wasn't really that Chubby and a fun sidebar of his success was that his incredibly strenuous act, which featured a lot of dancing, kept him in good shape. I saw Chubby live 4 or 5 times, including once at a big bar/club where he literally danced on the bar to the delight of the folks surrounding him.
Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer
The Twist itself was a true phenomenon; adults joined the kids in doing the simple dance, and it was done in High
Society and even the Kennedy White House. I've written on these pages before about the night I went to the Pepperming Lounge in New York to see Joey Dee and the Starlighters doing their hit, with a group of pretty dancers around them. Readers who were young then will all remember the tunes and the dance which defined that time,
from the Sock Hops to the Frat parties and beyond. So let's do the Twist one more time. - TDR