We received so many great new comments after our review of the Chubby Checker / Martha Reeves / Mary Wilson concert ran last weekend ... we just HAD to share them with you!
(And watch for these ... along with the complete concert review ... to be re-posted on The Forgotten Hits Website tomorrow after our Top 20 Concerts of 2017 feature wraps up!) kk
Sorry to hear that Martha and Mary were lost in space. It’s heartbreaking when artists you revered while growing up can’t accelerate any longer.
I am not surprised that Chubby Checker had the house rocking. I’ve seen Chubby a number of times over the years and always marvel at how good he looks and how strong his pipes remain.
It’s murder 1 that this giant doesn’t have a spot in the rock n roll hall of fame. I guess Jan Wenner and the eastern establishment are still worshipping the Ramones.
>>>I wish he would have done “Harder Than Diamond,” a track that got some FM Rock Radio airplay back in the ‘80’s.) kk
"Harder Than Diamond" is a great song. In fact, the entire LP it's from is excellent. Are you familiar with his song from that album "Running"?
(I can send if you wish.)
If you like "Harder Than Diamond"… you're gonna like this little gem from Mr. Ernest Evans.
Please do … I don't know if I've ever heard that one before or not … and check out his latest track, "Changes," available on iTunes … it's a GREAT song … and sounded OUTSTANDING when they performed it live. (I think Chubby continues to look and sound young because he continues to surround himself with musicians who "get" his music … there are more than a handful out there who would find it "beneath them" to have to play Chubby's "worn-out play list" … but the truth is, these guys REVELL in it … and every song sounds new and exciting again! A show definitely worth seeing! (kk)
2018 ! Who’d of thunk it ? Continued success in your incredible blog.
Why do you think Chubby is in such great shape?
Perhaps it is his love of movement and dance!
Influenced by the great music we naturally move to the beat and that ,my friends, will keep us all young … so let’s all “Twist Again” … ‘Return to those wondrous days of yesteryear’ … Oldies Music lives on!
Keep moving and reminiscing about our carefree innocent days when hearts were light, hopes were high and we embraced things to come … the best is yet to be !
Thank you, incredible Kent,
Charlie Fraser OFD
I can assure you that Chubby works at it … and I’m sure he works very hard … this doesn’t just happen. (He’s got at least a dozen years on me and there are days when I find it hard just getting out of the car!!! Lol)
And I’ll tell you what … Chubby could make MILLIONS by loaning out his plastic surgeon to the THOUSANDS of female beauty queens out there who had THEIR facelifts botched at the hands of lesser talents. Chubby looks amazing!!! (Little Richard is no longer the prettiest man in show business! Lol) kk
I saw Chubby back in the late 80's or early 90's and he was fabulous. Glad to know he was just as great now. His band was incredible. He even did a Joe Jackson tune. He indeed does deserve to be in the Rock Hall.
The Twist was definately one of my first 45's. I was three years old when it was big the first time, but I remember buying the record at my local record store.
My Mom always loved telling that story to people because the clerk asked if it was buying it for my older brother or sister and I said, No, it's for me."
I sat on my rocking horse rocking out to what was ever played on Bandstand at the time.
Too bad about Martha and Mary.
Happy New Year, Kent, and thanks for all you do to remind us how wonderful the music we grew up with was, and still is.
In her defense I believe Martha Reeves put her all into giving the best show she was capable of giving … her “gifts” just aren’t there anymore to brighten and lighten the load … but she made a valiant effort.
I doubt if Mary Wilson, on the other hand, remembers a single thing about the show! I was surprised to see both of these Motown Legends out in the lobby after the show signing autographs … Mary needed to head right home to bed … and really shouldn’t have been there at all … much less shaking hands and contaminating her devoted fans!!! (kk)
Hope you had a super New Year. Ya know, it seems like these "electors" for the hall of fame bunch run a parallel system to Hollywood’s nominees and winners as well. It took forever to recognize Lucas and Spielberg for their work ... almost like a jealousy thing.
Anyway ... Chubby more than deserves it.
Hope you had a super New Year. Ya know, it seems like these "electors" for the hall of fame bunch run a parallel system to Hollywood’s nominees and winners as well. It took forever to recognize Lucas and Spielberg for their work ... almost like a jealousy thing.
Anyway ... Chubby more than deserves it.
Looking forward to more good stuff in 2018.
Later my friend -
Later my friend -
Loved your review of the Chubby Checker concert.
Hi Kent –
Happy New Year and thanks so much for the great concert review … you call ‘em like you see ‘em and I love that. I’ve seen these acts over the (many!) years and Chubby almost got me out to the Genesee in the frigid weather!
Please reinstate the Saturday Surveys … we’ve missed this feature for too long.
I have a team of hand-picked experts working on The Saturday Surveys feature right now … it really all boils down to whether we can pull it all together in time or not … but I will say this … if you’ve got 1968 Top 40 Surveys from around various parts of the country, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at email@example.com and we’ll see if we can’t find a spot for a couple of yours! (kk)
Hey Mr. Music,
Just wanted to thank you for your great (and honest) review of the Chubby Checker show. I love Martha Reeves and highly respect Mary Wilson and wish them all the best, but was saddened to think they can no longer "carry the load" as they once could. I've been playing music for over 55 years and I do understand - I am NOT the player I once was - it's only natural. But along comes Chubby and shows us all it can be done and is being done on a regular basis.
Blessings on all of them and on you for bringing us the story.
Jim R. Hill
I’m glad you enjoyed Chubby. I’ve never seen him do a bad show, and yes, he should be in the Rock Hall. He’s also a really nice guy.
I interviewed him several years ago for my “Wildwood Days” documentary. He invited us to his (beautiful) house in Pennsylvania, and couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious. I ran into him and his wife (a former Miss World) a year later in Wildwood and got a warm greeting and a hug. It’s nice when your teen idols live up to your expectations.
As for the sing-a-longs ... I think most stars “of a certain age” use them as a little break.😀
Have a wonderful 2018!
So I’m thinking you’ve already got some footage we can use in a brand NEW documentary spotlighting and profiling this whole era and the impact it had. Awesome!!!
Gary Theroux is also putting together a television special that will feature home movies of some of our favorite artists, relaxing at home or out on vacation … away from the stage, just “living life” as regular people. Let us know if you might have some of this to share … or some contacts that might put us in touch with some of the Wildwood set! Thanks, Carolyn! Happy New Year to you, too! (kk)
YOU’RE RIGHT ON CHUBBY … HE SHOULD BE IN THE HALL.
I HAVE KNOWN HIM FROM THE BEGINNING … HE IS A GREAT FRIEND OF MINE.
SOME ACTS HAVE IT AND SOME DON’T!
SEE YOU SOON … LET’S ROCK!
FREDDY “BOOM BOOM” CANNON
Looking forward to it, Freddy … see you at The Arcada Theatre in July! (kk)
I have met Chubby Checker before and he is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth celebrities you’re ever going to meet. I hope he sees your review and gets in touch with you – especially over this documentary idea. I agree that he has been LONG overlooked for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and is one of the most deserving artists out there. Please keep us posted as this moves forward.
DanaHi Kent ...
Happy New Year!
I’m not sure if you met Chubby Checker at the concert, but you were so generous with your review of his performance, I bet he would love to read it. This could create a good chance for you to kick off a relationship with him, if you don’t have one already. When Chubby realizes how sincere and knowledgeable you are, I bet he initiates a dialog with you.
New York City, NY
I would love to start a dialog with him and have him participate with Forgotten Hits from time to time. I’ve just heard that he’s pretty well “guarded” and have not succeeded in the past when we were campaigning for his inclusion into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (In fact, you may recall that at one point we were told by his Official Fan Club to back off … “because The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame would take care of itself.”)
Well, that was about 12 years ago now … and he STILL hasn’t made the ballot … and I just think that’s wrong. I’m serious about wanting to do some type of documentary drawing attention to this era.
Think about it … he re-recorded a Hank Ballard B-Side in virtually the exact same style as the original and turned it into an overnight, international sensation. The guy OOZES charisma and comes across as down to earth and likeable as an artist can be. I would LOVE to help put together some type of deserving tribute to his contribution to The History Of Rock And Roll! (kk)
There WAS a documentary made about the Twist in 1992 by Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann. It was called "Twist" and featured 1992 performances by many artists, including Chubby Checker, Hank Ballard, Gladys Horton of The Marvelettes and many more.
I'm disappointed that Mary Wilson's performance was sub-par that night. I have never seen her perform, but I did have the pleasure of meeting her back in '89 when she was on a book tour. I arrived at the bookstore early with my video camera and Mary was seated at a table with her assistant and no one else around. I asked if she would mind if I videotaped her a little and she was very nice, telling me that she had just bought a video camera also and asked if she could try mine. She videotaped me as we chatted! I was thrilled that she was so nice and thanked her, then I left before the book signing began. I haven't seen that tape in many, many years and I'm not sure if I still have it. Maybe someday I'll find it stashed away in a box somewhere.
Chubby Checker - I have seen Chubby three times back in '73 - '74 and he was usually the headliner of some oldies shows that had 4 - 5 acts on the bill! He always did a high energy performance, told stories and interacted with the audience, a great performer!
I'm glad that you got to see him and his show was so entertaining!
Eddie, Ashley, PA
Happy New Year to you!
Thank you for the great review about the show with Chubby Checker. You know my feelings on this ... every time I see the new list of nominees and look at some of the people who have been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, to see this total injustice is appalling. I am very willing to help with anything we can to do get him in the R&RHOF.
By the way, did not know that Mitch Margo of the Tokens had passed away. When The Lion Sleeps Tonight was a hit, he had just had his bar mitzvah, so was 13 in 1961. I know the whole family and Mitch was a great guy - yet another act that deserved to be in the R&RHOF more than the likes of Bill Withers!
I think a lot of people would agree with you about The Tokens … not only for their own great recordings but also for the way they took other artists under their collective wing and helped to build their successful careers as well.
The more time that passes, the less likely it is that some of these most Deserving and Denied Artists will ever get their due … the younger generation seems far more focused on inducting the most recent, trending artists instead of many of the ones who laid the whole foundation in the first place … and it’s a REAL shame … because that’s what The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was SUPPOSED to be all about. (kk)
Chubby Checker deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fact that he is being ignored is a disgrace. Aside from his chart activity during the first decade of rock and roll, the popularity of The Twist was an integral part of changing the culture of our world, particularly how we dance. The Twist allowed dance partners to dance without touching their partner.
Checker had 31 chart records on Billboard with Parkway Records, many of them Top 10 records and three #1 records (actually two since The Twist was # 1 two different times).
As with the song Louie Louie, there was a book written specifically about The Twist and its cultural impact. Anyone who grew up watching American Bandstand during its heyday in Philadelpha knew the impact of the songs that made the teenagers dance. I think there is a negative stigma attached to artists whose success was assisted by performing on this show, and a stigma of being on one of the Phladelphia labels (Duane Eddy not withstanding), too.
I do not wish to name names, but there are many far less deserving artists of more recent years who have less credentials than Chubby Checker that have been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Any organized way to get him voted in I would support.
While I've never seen Mary or Chubby, I did see Martha Reeves in the mid 80's. She signed her Dancing In The Street album for me, and we did small talk for a bit. I wish I could recall the actual show. Oh well. These days I'm lucky if I can recall what I did 30 minutes ago, let alone 30 years.
Mary Wilson would have done better to cancel her appearance and get the rest she clearly needed … than go out and give a poor performance and disappoint her fans … if, in fact, all that was wrong that night can be attributed to her poor health. Sure, fans would have been disappointed if they were unable to see her ... but they all went away disappointed anyway because she was incapable of giving a good performance feeling as lousy as she did ... and now they're talking abou THAT instead. At least a "no show" is better than a BAD show!
The thing about Martha Reeves is that I think she gave it her all … and I’m sure after years and years of performing, she has come to expect some loss in her vocal abilities … it was tougher for me, having never seen her before. Sure, you expect ALL of our favorites to have lost a step or two but then I see artists like the Cornerstones guys and Paul Anka and Burton Cummings and B.J. Thomas and on and on and on and see that they still sound JUST as good today as they did back then … so it’s a bit more disappointing when you see someone who hasn’t been able to keep up their game.
But there’s more to it than that. Martha just seems to have “dated” herself rather than make any attempt to improve or update her act. I’ll give you a perfect example.
At one point when she was trying to rouse the crowd up on to its feet for “Heat Wave” she made the comment that “I know it’s gotten harder as we’ve all gotten older to get up and dance a little bit … but I’ll betcha if Richard Simmons asked you to get up, you’d ALL be up on your feet dancin’!”
See what I mean? I’m not sure that joke would have been funny thirty years ago … much less today!
Chubby Checker, on the other hand, continues to evolve as an artist … he doesn’t just settle for that mentality of “Well, this is all they came to see so that’s all I’m going to give them” … he continues to record new music (and GOOD music, too!) … and genuinely seems to be having fun up there, appreciative of the long-lasting career his success has afforded him.
Simply put, Chubby just charmed the crowd … he took us all along on a journey back thru time … and think about it … Chubby Checker wasn’t of MY era … by the time The British Invasion hit and I discovered rock and roll music, Chubby’s career was all but over when it came to the pop charts … yet here he is … some 55-60 years later, still entertaining as hell! THAT’S the difference I’m talking about. (kk)
We Love Ya, Chubby!
OUR ORIGINAL REVIEW:
Here is a copy of the review we ran after we saw Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves and Chubby Checker at The Genesee Theatre on Saturday, December 30th ...
This is a difficult review to write …
Presented as Three Legendary Voices of the '60's, the concert performed at The Genesee Theatre on Saturday Night, December 30th, lived up to its promise in name only … and that’s a shame … as I was REALLY looking forward to this show … not only our last concert of 2017 … but also the chance to see three legendary artists that I greatly admire but had never seen before.
The highlight for me all along was the opportunity to FINALLY see Chubby Checker in concert. We have LONG been advocates of Chubby’s rightful place in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and for as long as we’ve been doing Forgotten Hits, Chubby’s name comes up near the top of every “Deserving But Denied” list. This was our chance to show our support. (I’ve heard that he still puts on a great show … and wanted to see him for myself.)
Opening the show on Saturday night was Mary Wilson, original member of The Supremes, who throughout her career has had to take a back seat to the dynamic Diana Ross … but still sung her way into The Top Ten 22 times with #1 Hits like "Where Did Our Love Go" (1964); "Baby Love" (1964), "Come See About Me" (1964); "Stop! In The Name of Love" (1965); "Back In My Arms Again" (1965); "I Hear A Symphony" (1965); "You Can't Hurry Love" (1966); "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1966); "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone" (1967); "The Happening" (1967); "Love Child" (1968); "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" with The Temptations (1969) and "Someday We'll Be Together" (1969).
I mentioned this show as being difficult to review and I will now tell you why. (However, I feel it is my duty to accurately report on the events witnessed that night … and then find SOME positive thing to say about the performance if only because of the TRUE amount of respect I have for all of these artists.)
That being said, I must tell you that if Mary Wilson sang a single note in tune and on key the entire evening, I must have missed it.
She missed her cue to take the stage during her opening number and, somewhere in the middle of her first three songs, stopped singing all together, leaving a bewildered look on the faces of her musical arranger and male and female background singers.
Finally, after song number four (and after blowing her nose into a Kleenex now positioned next to her on a bar stool), she explained to the audience that she was sick and suffering from the flu … and had been heavily medicated prior to coming on stage by not only members of her own band but also by The Vandellas … and was literally “floating right now.”
That explains part of her incredibly poor performance (and won her a little bit of sympathy from the audience who were also questioning her condition at that point) … but throughout her abbreviated set (due to not feeling well), she stopped singing on several other occasions, forgot the lyrics to songs as well as the set order … and had to be reminded on cue about what she was supposed to be doing next … almost like an actor in rehearsal asking “Line?” The big difference, of course, is that she’s been performing these songs for decades now … and really should have her show down pat at this stage of the game.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE: She WAS in good humor, however, throughout the night, relating well-rehearsed stories of her illustrious career. She talked at length about her best selling book “Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme,” which would be for sale in the lobby after the show. (It actually is a very good biography) and then about the play / musical / movie “Dreamgirls” which, she explained, MANY people believe is the story of The Supremes. “But it is NOT,” she told us, “about The Supremes … even though the name of my book was ‘Dreamgirl’ … and the reason that I know for a FACT that this play / musical / movie ‘Dreamgirls’ is NOT about The Supremes is because I was never PAID!”
(She then proceeded to sing one of the tracks from the film, ”I Am Changing,” which probably would have been a pretty powerful performance had she been able to hold the melody and hit the notes.) She raved about how well Flo would have sung that song and what a beautiful voice she had … and then mentioned something to the effect of “that girl who sang it … didn’t she win an award or something?” without ever really acknowledging Jennifer Hudson’s Academy Award winning role or the brilliance of her performance.
She also talked about getting together regularly with her “girlfriends,” Brenda Russell and Rita Coolidge, who got together often to talk about “men … and how the songs today just don’t measure up to the songs from years back when they were all out on the road.”
She amended that point by saying that there WAS a great song that came out a little while ago but then had to be prompted again my her musical arranger in order to be able to identify it as being by Norah Jones … and, specifically, her Grammy Winning Hit “Don’t Know Why,” which the band played beautifully while Mary mangled the lyrics, later admitting “I don’t know what that song is about.”
She also had a bit of fun joking about how all she and Flo ever did was provide the “ooh’s” and “ahhs” and “baby, baby’s” in The Supremes’ hits … and the well-rehearsed choreography that went into each performance. She then asked for volunteers to come up on stage and become her back-up singers and dancers while she sang a short Supremes medley.
Now please understand that I am NOT in ANY way implying what happened next in ANY derogatory fashion … but I am telling you that the stage was quickly occupied by the most flamboyantly gay male singers and dancers I have ever seen … COMPLETELY over the top … I mean you just KNEW that each and every one of these guys had dreamed their ENTIRE lives of actually BEING a Supreme … and believe me, they knew EVERY move, every dance step, every expression, every hand signal … these guys had it DOWN!!! It was, without question, the highpoint of the evening when Mary Wilson made her way through The Supremes’ #1 Hit “Stop! In The Name Of Love.”
Next up was Martha Reeves, who led The Vandellas to FIFTEEN Top 40 Pop Hits between 1963 and 1968, including Top Ten Smashes like "Heat Wave" (#3, 1963); "Dancing In The Street" (#2, 1964); "Nowhere To Run" (#6, 1965) and "Jimmy Mack" (#6, 1967).
She opened her set with what seemed to be about a ten minute gospel song that then went into the Jackie Wilson hit “Higher And Higher,” after which she explained how she had been born again in 1977. (Did this mean we weren’t going to be treated to the hits we all came out to see? It was a BITTERLY cold night and yes, I mainly wanted to see Chubby, but still … Martha and the Vandellas had some great hits, too! And I wanted to hear them!)
At this point, she launched into several of them, including their first chart hit, “Come And Get These Memories” (#20, 1963). Much like Mary Wilson did, Martha brought up the point a few times about now being in her 70’s (she turned 76 last year … and Mary Wilson is 73) which, in all fairness, SHOULD cut them some slack for simply still being out on the circuit, helping to keep this great music alive … but the question was raised again recently in Forgotten Hits as to when an artist should hang it up … and truth be told, neither Mary Wilson or Martha Reeves look OR sound anything at all like they used to during the hit years. Mary could barely carry a tune and Martha Reeves’ voice has become so deep and throaty that you literally could have pulled ANY two black women off the street and asked them to sing these songs we know and love and they wouldn’t have sounded any less like the record that these two recording stars did Saturday Night. (Harsh ... but true)
She did a few more hits … “Jimmy Mack,” always one of my favorites, was fun, as Martha joked that it’s been fifty years now and she’s STILL waiting for him to come back in his flashy suit and fancy hat with the big feather in it. She also did “My Baby Loves Me” (a song I first discovered when I heard Barry Manilow and his girl background singers … who he dubbed “The Oreos” because two were black and one was white and the white one always stood in the middle ... do it on a PBS Soundstage Special back in the mid-'70's!), “Nowhere To Run,” a song used in numerous movies over the years and, of course, her two biggest hits, “Heat Wave” and “Dancing In The Street,” both of which had the whole crowd up on its feet shaking and dancing along.
When Martha first started her set, they brought out the Mayor of Waukegan, who presented her with … no, not the key to the city … but his brand new 2018 calendar! When he went to hug his first Vandella, she turned and walked away … but the OTHER Vandella was more than happy to give the Mayor a couple of nice hugs!
Martha also thanked Mick Jagger, the late David Bowie, “all of the Mamas and all of the Papas,” Van Halen and David Lee Roth and several others for covering their #2 Hit “Dancing In The Street,” and then explained that as much as she appreciates all of the people calling the radio stations and asking them to play her songs, she doesn't earn ANY money from airplay anymore … that deal ran out a LONG time ago ... so the ONLY way that Martha and the Vandellas get paid is if you BUY the music … so please BUY their CD’s or download their tunes instead and own them for yourselves. (Naturally some of THAT music would also be out in the lobby on sale after the show, too!)
A quick intermission to allow for a set chance was next. (Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson essentially shared the same back-up musicians, save a few that swapped out between sets to keep the show moving … but Chubby Checker was bringing out his own, self-contained band … and let me tell you something … Chubby has got himself a REAL rock band … these guys were smokin’ and not in ANY way, shape or form slighting the presentation of Checker’s music … these guys ROCKED with some incredible guitar and sax solos thrown in throughout the performance.
Chubby Checker turned 76 years old last October and I swear he looks, sounds and moves like a man less than HALF that age on stage. (He has obviously taken VERY good care of himself!!!) Truth be told, he looked and sounded AMAZING and, paired with this killer back up band, COMPLETELY turned the show around in all the ways I truly hoped he would.
His set moved rapid fire, at first with very little conversation, as he ran through a few of his hits and other hits from that era (including a nice tribute to Fats Domino, who recently left us. By now I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of how Dick Clark’s wife renamed former chicken plucker Earnest Evans “Chubby Checker,” making a play on Fats Domino’s name and the rest, as they say, is history.)
Checker was a HUGE part of the Philly scene and, thanks to Dick Clark and shows like “American Bandstand,” was quickly piped into living rooms all over America. (Even today the bulk of his back-up band hail from Philadelphia as Chubby remains true to his roots some sixty years later!)
Early on in the set, Chubby ventured out into the audience to sing and twist with a few of the spectators while he performed "Slow Twistin'" … and he held court over the crowd throughout the evening, having us sing the missing lines in at least a dozen tunes … everything from his biggest hits … to the closing theme of The Mickey Mouse Club!!!
It made for a fun night of entertainment (although for me the sing-along thing wore a little thin pretty quickly … as stated here before, we came to hear YOU sing … not provide half the vocals for you!!!)
He poked fun at his early 1964 Hit “Hooka Tooka” when, after singing a couple of choruses, admitted “That’s a dumb song.” (It is … but he made it fun all over again!)
Since it was the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I thought he might bring out his version of “Jingle Bell Rock” out of the mothballs again but that didn't happen. He did, however, offer words of encouragement to the audience as one year ends and another one begins to “fight the Devil every day … every time you see him in the mirror,” suggesting that rather than “turn over a new leaf” for 2018, “FIX the leaf you’ve currently got … and make things right.” It wasn’t done in a preachy way and truly felt sincere. Chubby is a very “likeable” character … and I do believe he may have gotten thru to a few people in the audience.
He brought a young girl up from the audience to “shake what you’ve got” during his version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (although I think she was willing to do a WHOLE lot more shakin’ that Chubby may have bargained for!) and a couple of other times, pulled girls from the front row up on stage to dance with him.
It was a great show (which even featured a new track called “Changes” that really showcased Chubby’s voice and the band’s ability as musicians … I downloaded it immediately as soon as I got home. With a rock band that strong, I wish he would have also done “Harder Than Diamond,” a track that got some FM Rock Radio airplay back in the ‘80’s.)
Naturally he closed the show with “The Twist,” which he then rolled into “Let’s Twist Again,” a solid one-two punch to end the show.
The crowd loved him … and when he went out into the lobby to sign autographs and pose for pictures, the line of fans was ridiculous! EVERYBODY wanted to meet and shake hands with Chubby Checker, who promised he would stay till the very end … “until EVERY fan got what they wanted in the way of a picture or an autograph” … “I’ll be here till they lock the doors ‘cause that’s what I do for my fans” … and I believe he did just exactly that.
This was a GREAT show that easily could have stood alone without the disappointing downer of the two opening acts. Chubby's still got it ... and he knows EXACTLY what to do with it. Highly recommended if he happens to be coming out your way!
Coming into the show, I knew I had an issue with one thing … and all I can say again is WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE???
Martha and the Vandellas were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995 … The Supremes in 1988 … but the guy who HEADLINED the show … the ONLY guy in the history of The Pop Charts during the Rock And Roll Era (now 60+ years strong) to hit #1 on the charts TWICE with the same record … the guy who launched a National Dance Sensation … ALSO TWICE … has never even been nominated.
Now how can that be???
Of course I'm talking about Chubby Checker … who had 24 Top 40 Pop Hits of his own (including his comeback “duet” with The Fat Boys) and Five National #1's … has never even made the ballot!!!
Watching this show, the wheels started turning … we have GOT to get this guy the recognition he deserves … somebody like Bruce Springsteen needs to come out on stage with him and do a couple of tunes (much like he did several years ago with Gary “US” Bonds) and let the rest of the "modern world" know who this guy is ... and what he has done!
Radio has to start playing his biggest hits again now that they’re FINALLY back in print. Several of these (“The Twist,” “Let’s Twist Again,” “Slow Twistin’,” and “Limbo Rock” still sound great today.)
A documentary needs to be made … not only showcasing Chubby Checker but explaining the whole phenomena of how his hit, “The Twist” launched “The Discotheque Era” here in America back in the early ‘60’s, catching on first with the kids and then again with the hip, club elite who pushed it back into The #1 Spot all over again when anybody who was anybody was out trending at all the hot clubs, doing The Twist.
Places like The Peppermint Lounge and dozens of others just like it sprang up to accommodate the demand for a place where young, hip adults could hang out and dance the night away. Joey Dee and the Starliters also hit #1 with their “Peppermint Twist” and dozens and dozens of “twist” songs soon filled the charts … it just may be the single biggest dance sensation in history, Macarena be damned! (Hell, even The Four Seasons first asked “Sherry” to come out to their twist party … and The Beatles covered an old Isley Brothers song and made “Twist And Shout” their very own!)
Chubby seems pretty humble about it all ... Billboard Magazine has declared "The Twist" to be the Biggest Song In The History Of Popular Music, simply for reaching the top of the charts on two separate occasions. Chubby simply says, "Well, SOME song had to be #1 ... had to be the biggest record of all time ... and it just so happens that it's mine." When you consider every other fad and phenomena that has passed thru music over the past 65 years, it's a pretty incredible feat indeed. (Think about it ... all Chubby did was rerecord a Hank Ballard B-Side in essentially the same manner that Hank had done it ... and it lit the world afire. Fueled by the likes of Dick Clark and American Bandstand and DeeJays across the country, the dance craze took off and make Checker an overnight superstar. But the record speaks as much to Chubby's charm and charisma as it does to the innocence of the era ... this was nothing short of an overnight sensation ... a phenomena personified.
So I’m appealing to guys like Shawn Swords and Paul Russo who have dedicated a good portion of their lives to preserving this era of music and The Sounds of Philadelphia … other Bandstand-Era folk like Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Fabian and more who were THERE at the time and LIVED this experience … Danny Tedesco who put together that GREAT Wrecking Crew documentary … Carolyn Travis who did the excellent “Airplay” documentary … Pam Pulice, who is putting together the new Dick Biondi documentary … publicist Bob Merlis and Jody Klein (who controls the rights to Chubby’s Cameo / Parkway catalog of music) … Gary Theroux, who co-wrote The History Of Rock And Roll … and deejays and radio programmers like Scott Shannon and Tom Cuddy and so many others that have graced our list over the years …
Let’s make this happen … in Chubby’s lifetime … let's pool our efforts and get him the credit he deserves … get him into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame … and preserve this very special moment in music history when the latest dance craze was something EVERY kid in America wanted to learn!
It sounds like Forgotten Hits Reader Tom Apathy saw essentially the same show we did back in July of last year.
Here he supplies the set list … and some awesome pix. (Chubby may have mixed up the running order a little bit for his Genesee Theatre appearance but it was essentially the same song line-up.)
Thanks, Tom, for these great pix! (kk)
Hi Kent -
Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside OH was rocking Saturday night to Chubby Checker and The Wildcats !
At 75, Chubby can still sing and TWIST !
If he wasn't getting the audience to sing along, he was dancing with them - in the audience, up on stage - a really fun show!
Here is the setlist :
2. Twist It Up
4. I'm Walkin'
7. Hooka Tooka
8. Loddy Lo
9. Pony Time
13. Peggy Sue
14. The Hucklebuck
16. My Girl
18. Twist and Shout
19. The Twist
Thank you very much ... and a Happy New Year To All!!!