Chubby Checker’s curious snub.

NewVicHawkeye

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This guy’s resume dwarves 75% of those in the Rock n roll HOF. 32 hits, 7 top 10s, 2 number 1 hits- The Twist and Pony Time. The Twist is only song to hit #1 twice. (and it was first knocked from 1 by the Peppermint Twist!)

Influence- everyone in music did twist songs in the early 1960s including many Rock HOFers of the era. (Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Sam Cooke, many more) Plus legends from other genres such as Count Bassie, Sinatra, the King of Bluegrass Bill Monroe, King of Western Swing Bob Wills. That’s a consensus trend across the entire world of music at the time. Artist like Elton John and the Traveling Wilburies have recorded twist song in the decades since. Chubby also starred in 2 twist movies.

There are fantastic photos of Jackie Kennedy doing the twist in the WH while JFK looks on. In the 1970s, no roller skating night was complete without doing the Limbo Rock. The last Cub game I went to, they played the Twist and hundreds of fans instantly broke into dancing the twist- 60 years after it’s heyday!!!

Chubby Checker and the Twist are a part of American history and they sure as hell belong in the RnR HOF. Dick Clark called it the single most important rock n roll record ever recorded because it got adults into rock n roll for the first time.
 

pablow

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The Rock & Roll HOF sucks. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was not inducted until 2018 and Tina Turner not until 2021 (the Ike & Tina induction was an insult to her and doesn't count for sh*t).
 

tarheelbybirth

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This guy’s resume dwarves 75% of those in the Rock n roll HOF. 32 hits, 7 top 10s, 2 number 1 hits- The Twist and Pony Time. The Twist is only song to hit #1 twice. (and it was first knocked from 1 by the Peppermint Twist!)

Influence- everyone in music did twist songs in the early 1960s including many Rock HOFers of the era. (Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Sam Cooke, many more) Plus legends from other genres such as Count Bassie, Sinatra, the King of Bluegrass Bill Monroe, King of Western Swing Bob Wills. That’s a consensus trend across the entire world of music at the time. Artist like Elton John and the Traveling Wilburies have recorded twist song in the decades since. Chubby also starred in 2 twist movies.

There are fantastic photos of Jackie Kennedy doing the twist in the WH while JFK looks on. In the 1970s, no roller skating night was complete without doing the Limbo Rock. The last Cub game I went to, they played the Twist and hundreds of fans instantly broke into dancing the twist- 60 years after it’s heyday!!!

Chubby Checker and the Twist are a part of American history and they sure as hell belong in the RnR HOF. Dick Clark called it the single most important rock n roll record ever recorded because it got adults into rock n roll for the first time.
Chubby Checker just ripped off Fats Domino. He actually got his start doing a Fats Domino impersonation routine. Hank Ballard - who wrote The Twist - was scheduled to appear on American Bandstand but couldn't perform so Clark asked for Chubby to cover it. It exploded and took Chubby to the top of the pop charts. It was so close to Ballard's version that, the first time he heard it on the radio, Ballard thought it was his own recording.

That's likely why Chubby Checker isn't in the HoF. Great performer but he was a parrot.
 

NewVicHawkeye

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Chubby Checker just ripped off Fats Domino. He actually got his start doing a Fats Domino impersonation routine. Hank Ballard - who wrote The Twist - was scheduled to appear on American Bandstand but couldn't perform so Clark asked for Chubby to cover it. It exploded and took Chubby to the top of the pop charts. It was so close to Ballard's version that, the first time he heard it on the radio, Ballard thought it was his own recording.

That's likely why Chubby Checker isn't in the HoF. Great performer but he was a parrot.
If they kicked everyone out for not writing songs there wouldn’t be a HOF. Hank Ballard, great-uncle of Hawkeye Christian Ballard was a great artist and songwriter but never ever 10% as famous as Chubby Checker. The same can be said for over half the HOF which is my point.
 

tarheelbybirth

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If they kicked everyone out for not writing songs there wouldn’t be a HOF. Hank Ballard, great-uncle of Hawkeye Christian Ballard was a great artist and songwriter but never ever 10% as famous as Chubby Checker. The same can be said for over half the HOF which is my point.
He was famous but he was in no way unique. Johnny Cash covered Hurt and Trent Rezor said "I wasn’t prepared for what I saw, and it really then, wasn’t my song anymore.” And that was Reznor's most personal song.

Ballard heard Chubby Checker's cover of The Twist and thought it was his own recording. Chubby never reinterpeted anything...he never made anything his own. Being famous all by itself shouldn't be enough to get you in the HOF.
 

Nole Lou

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Chubby Checker just ripped off Fats Domino. He actually got his start doing a Fats Domino impersonation routine. Hank Ballard - who wrote The Twist - was scheduled to appear on American Bandstand but couldn't perform so Clark asked for Chubby to cover it. It exploded and took Chubby to the top of the pop charts. It was so close to Ballard's version that, the first time he heard it on the radio, Ballard thought it was his own recording.

That's likely why Chubby Checker isn't in the HoF. Great performer but he was a parrot.

That's what I was going to speculate, the nail in the coffin is probably that he is mostly associated with a single recording (despite other hits), and that song was not really his to begin with.

Yes, the vast majority of early artists were singing songs they didn't create, that's just the way it was at the time. But I think he just isn't seen as making a lasting contribution to the genre, having a mostly novelty career.

I'm a huge advocate for 50s and 60s artists, but even I have a hard time caping up for his resume. I've read a gazillion biographies and stories about seminal rock and roll musicians, and pretty much none of them describe being influenced, inspired, or enthralled with Chubby Checker. You can kind of tell, because bands like the British Invasion bands and American roots rock bands covered a tons of artists of Chubby Checker's era on their albums. But I can't think of any of them recording Limbo Rock on their albums.
 

NewVicHawkeye

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He was famous but he was in no way unique. Johnny Cash covered Hurt and Trent Rezor said "I wasn’t prepared for what I saw, and it really then, wasn’t my song anymore.” And that was Reznor's most personal song.

Ballard heard Chubby Checker's cover of The Twist and thought it was his own recording. Chubby never reinterpeted anything...he never made anything his own. Being famous all by itself shouldn't be enough to get you in the HOF.
I won’t argue that Chubby’s version of the twist is an improvement on Ballard’s original because it wasn’t. But Chubby made it a sensation. Nothing was bigger than the dance crazes in the early 1960s and Chubby had a bunch of them- twist, fly, pony, hucklebuck all big hits and dance crazes. He made them hits and literally sensations across the nation, not Hank Ballard, not Dick Clark. America loved Chubby Checker and doing the dances he popularized. Play ‘Let’s Twist Again’ in any area right now and the people will start doing the twist.

Then JFK was killed and the fun ended. But there should be room in the HOF for the #1 dance craze artist.
 

NewVicHawkeye

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That's what I was going to speculate, the nail in the coffin is probably that he is mostly associated with a single recording (despite other hits), and that song was not really his to begin with.

Yes, the vast majority of early artists were singing songs they didn't create, that's just the way it was at the time. But I think he just isn't seen as making a lasting contribution to the genre, having a mostly novelty career.

I'm a huge advocate for 50s and 60s artists, but even I have a hard time caping up for his resume. I've read a gazillion biographies and stories about seminal rock and roll musicians, and pretty much none of them describe being influenced, inspired, or enthralled with Chubby Checker. You can kind of tell, because bands like the British Invasion bands and American roots rock bands covered a tons of artists of Chubby Checker's era on their albums. But I can't think of any of them recording Limbo Rock on their albums.
I’m a big 50s guy too and while I prefer a Larry Williams or a Johnny Burnette Trio campaign, I choose to back Chubby Checker because of what a huge sensation his dance crazes were.

The artists I mentioned in my op don’t do Twist songs without Chubby Checker making it a sensation. THERE is your influence in addition to dance songs being name checked in countless other songs such as Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett or Good Morning Little Schoolgirl by the Yardbirds.

Judge Chubby by his era not the making great art for rock albums late 60s + era- his job wasn’t to write songs or make great albums it was to get the kids on the dance floor! Rock n roll was originally dance music and Chubby hit higher heights there than anybody.
 

Nole Lou

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Also, all his top 10 hits happened between 1959 and 1962. I'd imagine that's pretty thin longevity compared to most acts in the HOF, especially without some catalog of critically respected or influential non-hit music.

I think he's considered a fad and a novelty artist.

The discussion reminds me actually of the debate when I was growing up about whether Roger Maris should be in the baseball hall of fame. Is the accomplishment (one of the biggest hits of all time and the briefly the most prominent figure in a music fad) so important and singular that it overrides an otherwise unremarkable career?
 

NewVicHawkeye

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Also, all his top 10 hits happened between 1959 and 1962. I'd imagine that's pretty thin longevity compared to most acts in the HOF, especially without some catalog of critically respected or influential non-hit music.

I think he's considered a fad and a novelty artist.

The discussion reminds me actually of the debate when I was growing up about whether Roger Maris should be in the baseball hall of fame. Is the accomplishment (one of the biggest hits of all time and the briefly the most prominent figure in a music fad) so important and singular that it overrides an otherwise unremarkable career?
America totally changed overnight when JFK was shot. Everyone’s career ended then. Most artists have a peak career of 3-4 years on top. Even the Beatles only doubled that.

Look back and you’ll see Little Richard did all his most famous hits over 18 months. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers had s recording career of 18 months.

Rock n roll dance songs may be considered a novelty today but that’s all there was before the Beatles and Dylan. I prefer fun music to serious anyway.

The idea of rock n roll being ‘critically respected’ back in 1961 is laughable. Chubby was a rock n roller not a rock musician trying to record the Dark Side of the Moon.

Rock n rollers were expected to get the kids dancing and nobody got more of em dancing than Chubby.
 

Nole Lou

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America totally changed overnight when JFK was shot. Everyone’s career ended then. Most artists have a peak career of 3-4 years on top. Even the Beatles only doubled that.

Look back and you’ll see Little Richard did all his most famous hits over 18 months. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers had s recording career of 18 months.

Rock n roll dance songs may be considered a novelty today but that’s all there was before the Beatles and Dylan. I prefer fun music to serious anyway.

The idea of rock n roll being ‘critically respected’ back in 1961 is laughable. Chubby was a rock n roller not a rock musician trying to record the Dark Side of the Moon.

Rock n rollers were expected to get the kids dancing and nobody got more of em dancing than Chubby.

Little Richard's songs were covered extensively by his contemporaries, covered by those that followed, and has been cited by an innumerable number of legendary artists that followed. It's just not in the same ballpark in terms of a place in the fabric of rock and roll. Chubby Checker just doesn't have that level of influence.

Frankie Lymon...well you've got me there, I never really saw that one.

That being said, I respect how highly you think of Chubby Checker.
 
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NewVicHawkeye

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Little Richard's songs were covered extensively by his contemporaries, covered by those that followed, and has been cited by an innumerable number of legendary artists that followed. It's just not in the same ballpark in terms of a place in the fabric of rock and roll. Chubby Checker just doesn't have that level of influence.

Frankie Lymon...well you've got me there, I never really saw that one.

That being said, I respect how highly you think of Chubby Checker.
My opinion of Chubby probably isn’t too far off yours. The difference is qualification for the HOF. Consider rock n roll a dance music in 1961 and what he accomplished in that roll. It’s hard to say anyone accomplished more between Buddy Holly and JFKs deaths.

As art that holds up today, ehhh well I do like it but prefer a lot of others who will never be considered for the hall. I do understand that opinion and idea. But there aren’t any dance craze artists or Philly artists and Chubby wax tops in both.

And I appreciate the debate! A guy whose career peaked 10 years before I was born and I’m old! I appreciate the banter and your opinions as well as Heel too.
 

Nole Lou

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My opinion of Chubby probably isn’t too far off yours. The difference is qualification for the HOF. Consider rock n roll a dance music in 1961 and what he accomplished in that roll. It’s hard to say anyone accomplished more between Buddy Holly and JFKs deaths.

As art that holds up today, ehhh well I do like it but prefer a lot of others who will never be considered for the hall. I do understand that opinion and idea. But there aren’t any dance craze artists or Philly artists and Chubby wax tops in both.

And I appreciate the debate! A guy whose career peaked 10 years before I was born and I’m old! I appreciate the banter and your opinions as well as Heel too.

I am about your same age! My favorite era and most of my favorite artists were a wrap before I was born.

Though admittedly, my favorite era is slightly post-Chubby Checker - the British Invasion and its American peers. I'm fine with 57-62 music, but the only artists in that era I have real fondness for is Dion and the Belmonts, Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.
 
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NewVicHawkeye

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I am about your same age! My favorite era and most of my favorite artists were a wrap before I was born.

Though admittedly, my favorite era is slightly post-Chubby Checker - the British Invasion and its American peers. I'm fine with 57-62 music, but the only artists in that era I have real fondness for is Dion and the Belmonts, Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.
That’s awesome! My sweet spot is 50s rock n roll. The early sixties to rock n roll is like the steroid era to baseball. Bobby Rydel, Fabian etc tainted the lot of ‘em including Chubby!

Dion is the #1 male 1950s rock n roller now that Jerry Lee has passed. Long live Dion, King of the streets of New York!
 

mnole03

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Another 50’s icon, Rage Against the Machine, was also somehow left out.