As June comes to a close, we are wrapping up our series, "Soul's Survivors" honoring legends during Black Music Month. NY1's Dean Meminger spoke with 72-year-old Chubby Checker, who twisted Rock and Roll into the history books.
Chubby Checker and his fans are still twisting up a storm more than 50 years after his version of the Twist was recorded and became a smash hit.
He recorded multiple versions of the Twist and so did a whole lot of other artists over the years.
Billboard says Chubby Checker's Twist is its number one song of the last 55 years.
It changed the way people moved on the dance floor. Couples starting dancing separately and a lot faster. His other hits include. The Pony, The Hucklebuck and The Fly.
"When we did the Fly—when you throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care, that's the Fly, Chubby Checker. And if you are doing the Fly, you have to being doing the Shake because they both go together. So we take the Fly, and the Twist and the Pony and we work it all together," Checker says. "Also, in 1962, it happened right here in New York City. Zsa Zsa Gabor went on the stage at the Peppermint lounge and she did the Twist, and at that moment radio started playing the same song all over again and
the Twist became the number one song twice."
Checker pushed the Rock and Roll craze across the country. He says any dances nowadays have roots in what he did.
CHECKER: "There it is. There it is."
MEMINGER: "You still have the moves man?"
CHECKER: "I am the moves."
In 2013, Checker released a song called "Changes." He says he's been through a lot of those battling the the music industry, including his very vocal disappointment with not being inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame yet.
"I can tell you something. I am really a checker board. I am a white and black artist. I survive in the middle of the highway. I have a lot of white fans. I don't go to the right or the left. I just go out there and make those people happy, and I have to fight the racism I have to deal with in my business," Checker says.
Once on stage it's all about making people move and enjoy themselves.
"I want you to know that I have been doing this for a very long time and folks, I do realize that without you, I would be nothing. I want to thank you so much for making it possible all these years," says Checker to his audience.
He says he has more years left in him of twisting and shaking.
Web Extra: Extended Interview
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