Credited with inventing “The Twist”, Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans in Spring Gully, South Carolina. As a young boy, he moved to Philadelphia with his parents and two brothers. He attended South Philadelphia High School. Evans was always an aspiring performer for a very young age. He got a small break after graduating from high school and making records that were impressions of singers like Elvis Presley and Fats Domino.
Evans later met Barbara Clark, wife of American Bandstand host, Dick Clark. She was credited with giving young Evans his stage name, “Chubby Checker.” He had picked up the name Chubby while working at a poultry market, but Clark to one look at him and called him “Chubby Checker”. With Barbara Clark’s help, Evans got a job recording a Christmas greeting card for Dick Clark’s associates. This album spawned another called, “The Class,” which contained impressions of famous singers.
Still, most people had never heard of Checker, and his record label considered dropping him. He was later persuaded to redo “The Twist,” a hit by Hank Ballard, producers felt that the song needed a new fresh young face to it. Checker got the job and changed the sound and look of “The Twist.” Released in the summer of 1960, “The Twist, became an overnight success. Dick Clark was a huge fan of this type of music and dance on his show. The song hit the top of the Billboard top 100 in 1960 and a spin-off song, “Let’s Twist again” followed with the same success.