Our Top 10 Chubby Checker songs list looks back at an artist who single handily started a dance craze that engulfed the music business in 1961 like none before. There are not many moments in classic rock history when one song could become so influential that hundreds of artists would jump on the bandwagon and release singles and full length albums capitalizing on the momentum and popularity of one song. Yet, that’s what happened when Chubby Checker released his legendary song “The Twist.” Suddenly the world was awash in a Twist craze! Songs, albums movies, commercials, products all engaged in the popularity of “The Twist.” Chubby Checker did not invent “The Twist,” he just ignited the craze with his live performance of the song and his single release of it in 1960. The song “The Twist,” was written by Hank Ballard. The dance of the Twist had its roots going back many years. Like the Story of Classic Rock, the origins of “The Twist,” go back to the early part of the twentieth century and possibly even further back than that. Just like rock and roll, it was a form of expression that had evolved over a long period of time. However, Chubby Checker’s recording of The Twist set the world on a “Twisting Party.”
While Chubby Checker will always be remembered mostly for his recording of “The Twist,” the man did release many other singles and had great success with a handful of other songs besides The Twist.” Our Top 10 Chubby Checker songs list presents nine other great Chubby Checker songs besides his groundbreaking song “The Twist.”
# 10 – Birdland
We open up our top 10 Chubby Checker songs with a big time fun piece called “Birdland.” We wanted to open up this Chubby Checker list with a real burner. Chubby Checker was always trying to establish new dance crazes after the success of “The Twist.” The release of “Birdland,” on the album Beach Party also jumped on the surf music craze at the same time made popular by Dick Dale and others. The album and single were both released in 1963. “Birdland,” was a big hit for Chubby Checker. The song broke the Billboard Mainstream Top 20 peaking at number 12 in 1963.
# 9 – Knock Down The Walls
Believe it or not, almost fifty years after the release of “The Twist,” Chubby Checker had another number one hit on his hands in 2008. The dance version of his 2008 single “Knock Down The Walls,” went to number one on the U.S. Dance music charts in 2008. This is great!
# 8 – Dancin’ Party
Continuing with our top 10 Chubby Checker songs list we turn to another dance song called “Dancin’ Party.” From the song’s opening party drum groove to Chubby Checker igniting the crowd with chants of “Yeah Yeah,” you knew this was all about a good time. And my friends, that’s what rock and roll is all about. Thanks Mr. Checker you have brought so much joy to millions of people for so many years. Love this one! Dancin’ Party was released in 1962 on the album Chubby Checker’s Biggest Hits. The song was a big hit peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 7 – The Hucklebuck
“The Hucklebuck” was Chubby Checker’s follow up single to “The Twist.” I mean how on Earth do you follow up a song that inspired one of the biggest dance crazes and musical movements of all time? Well you just do. The song “The Hucklebuck” contained one of our favorite rock and roll lines delivered perfectly by Chubby Checker….. “A little bit of Twist, a little bit of this and if your don’t know how to do it, ask my little sis.
# 6 – The Fly
“The Fly,” was another one of those songs that was meant to inspire a new dance craze. The video below is great and offers a wonderful look back at those times. It’s pretty much “The Twist,” with your hands above your heads and then below your knees. I think? The song was released on the album For Teen Twisters Only. It was another big hit for Chubby Checker as the song broke the Billboard Top 10 peaking at number 7 in 1961.
# 5 – Slow Twistin’
Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp recorded this great Jon Sheldon song “Slow Twistin” in 1961. The song would become a big time hit for Checker and Dee Dee Sharp. “Slow Twistin'” would break the Billboard Mainstream music charts top 10 peaking all the way up to number three. It did the same on the Billboard R&B Charts. The recording of the song was released on Parkway Records.
# 4 – Limbo Rock
Chubby Checker was the man in the early 1960s. The guy took a Limbo song instrumental released in 1961 by the Champs, added lyrics to it and then scored a number two hit with it on the Billboard Top 100 in 1962. It’s still used by wedding DJ’s and wedding bands to this day.
# 3 – Let’s Twist Again
The classic Chubby Checker song “Let Twist Again,” obviously served as the sequel to “The Twist.” The song was released in 1961. It would become another huge hit for Chubby Checker The song broke the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 section peaking at number eight. The song was written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell. The song’s groove was much different than the original Twist as this one swung more than it rocked. Still, it was a big time hit as the Twist craze continued. Eventually The Beatles would put an end to it in 1963, as well as an entire era of music as the British were coming.
# 2 – Pony Time
Chubby Checker’s “Pony Time,” was the singer’s only other number one hit of his career besides the legendary song “The Twist.” The song was released in 1961. there were three other singles released between “The Twist,” and “Pony Time,” that did not chart that high so it wasn’t like “Pony Time,” was completely riding the wave of the Twist, although it sure did help. “Pony Time,” was a much loved song that also was helped by another new dance craze called The Pony. The song “Pony Time,” was written by Don Covay and John Berry. Chubby Checker’s version hit number one on both the Billboard Mainstream music charts as well as the Billboard R&B charts. A feat that even “The Twist,” did not achieve.
# 1 – The Twist
We close out our top 10 Chubby Checker songs with of course the song that made him famous. “The Twist,” will go down as one of the most popular songs of all time. As we said in the introduction, the song inspired a movement that resonated not only across the music industry but also infiltrated pop culture on a mass level. While it of course died down after a couple of years, the song and the dance have remained constant within pop culture usually being celebrated at parties, weddings, and other celebratory events. It has never gone away.
“The Twist,” was written by Hank Ballard. The song was originally released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters in 1958. The song became a top 40 hit in 1959. However, it was Chubby Checker’s version released in 1960 that went all the way to number one in 1960 on the Billboard Top 100 music charts. Chubby Checker’s recording was great but it was the dance craze that made Chubby Checker’s version so popular. In 1961, one year after “The Twist,” had become Chubby Checker’s fist number one record, “The Twist,” once again hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the only time the same song has hit number one in two separate years in classic rock history.
Top 10 article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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