Tell Me Something Good: Chubby Checker turns 80

Tell Me Something Good

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When Chubby Checker first recorded Hank Ballard’s tune ‘The Twist,’ he did it in four takes.  The audio engineer suggested one more, but time was running short for the teenager. 
 
“He says, ‘It’s a little flat there,” says Chubby.  “I said, ‘Dave, they’ll never know.  I gotta go home and do my homework.  I’m in trouble with the books!  Ha ha ha.”  It turned out OK.  That recording session did more to shape the life of teenager born Ernest Evans than any high school class ever could have.  Look where he is today. 
 
“I woke up in the middle of the night, about one o’clock on the third of October, says Chubby, “And I looked in the mirror and said ‘You know something, Chubby?’ I said what?  ‘I said ‘You’re 80 years old!’  I said ‘How did we do that??.” 
 
That big birthday comes at a time of rebirth for the rock-and-roll legend after an unexpected hiatus during the Pandemic.  “You know something?,” Chubby says with a chuckle.  “…I haven’t been out of work since I was six years old! 
 
The break for the road gave him a chance to spend some time at home with family.  But now, he’s back on the road, playing dates around the country.  He started with a date in El Paso, Texas.  “And I went on stage and the band started to play and I went ‘We didn’t miss a beat!’” 
 
He’ll bring his band The Wildcats back to Central New York on November 5th, when he returns to the Del Lago Resort and Casino.  Upstate New York has been good to Chubby Checker, way back to the days met up with a Syracuse University legend who pointed him toward “American Bandstand” and a stellar future. 
 
“Dick Clark says ‘You know, That song… The Twist, you know… let Chubby do that song.  You know, I think he can do that song.  He has the personality for that song.  And little did I know…” 
 
And the rock and roll legend says it was Dick Clark’s wife who first suggested an alliterative stage name, pairing Chubby with Checker to remind fans of the great Fats Domino.  An electric stage presence has kept “The Twist” and his music career alive and thriving for more than 60 years.  “What I do covers a spectrum of all the music and it’s all about fun.  So, Wherever I go, it’s OK.” 
 
And even at 80, Chubby Checker says everything’s still working, he’s still singing in the same key, and he’s still ready to twist the night away.   

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