1960 Chubby Checker – The Hucklebuck
Ernest Evans was born in a small town in South Carolina and primarily grew up in Philadelphia. He sang in harmony groups and even sang at his work in various markets. Henry Colt, the manager of the Fresh Farm Poultry, gave Ernest the nickname Chubby.
Chubby sang at an audition for Dick Clark, and Dick’s wife met Chubby after hearing him sing a song by Fats Domino. She came up with the alliteration and suggested he use a name that stuck: Chubby Checker.
Chubby recorded a cover version of The Twist in 1960 that turned into one of the most popular singles of all time. His next single became a cover of a twenty-year-old dance tune.
Andy Gibson wrote D’Natural Blues for Lucky Millinder, whose band recorded it in the late forties. Paul Williams heard the band play the song live during a practice session for a concert and his band started playing the song in concerts.
When he noticed audience members dancing to the tune with a dance called the Huckle-Buck, he renamed his group Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers. They released an instrumental called The Huckle-Buck that soon reached the top of the R&B chart.
Several other artists released versions of the song that year, including a vocal version by Frank Sinatra that entered the pop charts and peaked in the top ten.
Chubby recorded a new version of The Hucklebuck in 1960 that followed The Twist without doing nearly as well.
Chubby talked about resenting being pigeonholed as singing dance music after his single peaked at #14. Of course, his next single after The Hucklebuck was Pony Time, which took him back to the top of the Hot 100. He also recorded several more successful dance records, so maybe he got over his reluctance to continue recording dance records.
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