Chubby Checker enjoys life’s twists (and turns)
Rock ‘n roll icon Chubby Checker last played Park City in 2015.
The man, whose cover of the “The Twist” struck a chord in the psyche of American teens in 1960, played five nights at the Egyptian Theatre.
Next week he’ll play for three nights, Feb. 15-18, but that doesn’t mean he’ll cut any corners.
“Last time I was in Park City I had a great time,” Checker said. “I can’t wait to get back to the theatre. I can’t wait to get there to entertain you folks, because I love Park City.”
Checker and his band The Wildcats will play the hits including “The Pony,” “The Hucklebuck” and “The Fly,” but the singer knows everyone wants him to do “The Twist.”
And he’s so proud of what the song has done for his career.
“Things that have happened to Chubby Checker with ‘The Twist’ that may have not happened to other people who sing songs,” he said.
He wasn’t kidding.
Billboard Magazine, the music-industry’s bible, declared “The Twist” the biggest hit of the 1960s.
The publication also reported that “The Twist” holds the honor of being the No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 50th Anniversary list..
In addition, the song has retained the honor in re-tabulated lists the magazine released in 2013 and 2015.
“That means it will be the No. 1 song of all time, until another song comes along,” Checker said.
“The Twist” was also added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for long-term preservation.
As far as sales go, “The Twist” was the first record to sell more than 1 million copies Checker said it was the first platinum song.
Songs in the music industry are ranked in gold, platinum and diamond statuses, according to Billboard Magazine and The Recording Academy.
Gold translates into selling 500,000 copies. Platinum tabulates 1 million sales and diamond status is 10 million sales.
“The Twist” also changed the American dancefloor, Checker said.
“The song brought aerobic exercises to the family and it brought a new style that never got old,” he said. “When Alexander Graham Bell said, ‘Watson, come here,’ the telephone was born. When Walt Disney did cartoons animation as we know it was born. So when Chubby Checker did ‘The Twist’ on ‘American Bandstand,’ and when the girl looked at the guy and the guy looked at the girl while doing it, a new thing was born.”
The excitement surrounding ‘The Twist” is what keeps the 76-year-old performer on the road.
“I just played in Florida and then played on a cruise in the Caribbean,” Checker said. The cruise started on Jan. 2, and by Jan. 31, Checker was in Key West, Florida.
“Then I played Avon Park and at Clermont, Florida,” he said. “I’ll play in Florida next week and then I’m coming to [Park City].”
Checker said the shows will be full of energy.
“We’re going to come in burn the place down and go home,” he giggled. “I want everyone in the Utah area to come to the shows, because we’re in the last part of it all. I’m not getting younger, so you need to come see it when all the bells and whistles are still working while you can. Because although I love this business, when I leave it, I won’t return.”
Checker has plans for his retirement.
“I saw Clint Eastwood this morning. He’s 87 years old and still making movies,” Checker said. “I want to be 87 years old, but probably not still doing ‘The Twist.’ I want to still have all my marbles, but sell my (Checkerlicious) snacks, that include to the whole planet. But until then, we’re going to have fun. It will be great.”
Chubby Checker and The Wildcats will perform at 8 p.m. from Thursday, Feb. 15, to Saturday, Feb. 17, and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. Thursday tickets range from $39 to $65. Tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday range from $43 to $70. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com. For information about Chubby Checker, visit http://www.chubbychecker.com.
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