Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Born Ernest Evans, Chubby Checker was able to keep alliteration is his name as well as playing off the name Fats Domino, who was another famous singer at the time. Checker was born in October of 1941 in South Carolina.
Chubby Checker was a performer from an early age. He danced, sang, and did impressions of other famous artists at the time for his friends. One of his bosses nicknamed him Chubby. A man from a local recording studio let Chubby in for a private recording for American Bandstand. The host’s wife gave him the name Checker after hearing his impersonation of Domino.
Chubby Checker continued recording and performed his version of ‘The Twist’ at age 18. Hank Ballard had originally wrote the song, and it was #16 on the Billboard charts, but Checker’s version hit #1.
Another of Checker’s songs, ‘Twistin’ USA’, inspired the Beach Boys song ‘Surfin’ USA’. Their lyrics were nearly a parody on Checker’s, but the music was taken from Chuck Berry.
In 1964, Checker married Catharina Lodders. He had four children, Mistie, Ilka, Shan, and Bianca.
Checker appeared in two movies, ‘Don’t Knock the Twist’ and ‘Twist Around the Clock’, both in which he played himself. He also played himself in a episode of ‘Quantum Leap’ in which Sam Beckett, the main character, taught him to do the twist.
Chubby Checker is still alive at seventy-four years of age.