Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vintage Video: Chubby Checker Performs The Biggest Song of the Rock Era

On this day 54 years ago, January 13, 1962, Chubby Checker pulled off a feat that has yet to be duplicated. He returned a song to the top of the charts more than a year after it had originally hit number 1.

The Twist was originally released in 1959 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as the b-side of the single Teardrops On Your Letter. The a-side went to number 4 on the R&B singles but the flipside also charted, going to number 16.

The next year, Checker covered the song at the urging of Dick Clark who had wanted to book Ballard on American Bandstand, but the singer wasn't available. Checker recorded the song and Parkway Records quickly released it. Clark featured Chubby on both American Bandstand and The Dick Clark Saturday Night Show sending the record to number 1 on September 19, 1960 where it stayed for a week.

While teens were into the dance, it took off with adults towards the end of 1961, sending the record back up the charts where it once again hit number 1 fifty-four years ago today.

Billboard has The Twist as the number 1 single of the Hot 100 era from 1957 to today on the strength of the two major chart runs.