Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday rerun: Let's Twist the Do!

'Tis said there are statistics and there are statistics...but here's one for you. Owing to some sort of math that we may never understand, Billboard Magazine has declared "The Twist" by Chubby Checker as the most popular single in the 50 years of their Hot 100 chart.

If you read the article, it turns out that the Einsteins at Billboard had to "weight" the charts differently from the long-ago days when the most popular records were actually the most popular records. Who knows how they figure it today, but how many times have you ever heard the answer to, "What is your favorite song of all time?" come back as "Why, it's 'The Twist', by Chubby Checker! Was there any doubt?" Asked for a comment, Chubby (born Ernest Evans but renamed in honor of Fats Domino; one can only surmise that "Porky Parcheesi" was already taken in the adipose tissue- child's game name contest) had this to say: "I'm glad they've finally recognized it." Not a lot of elaboration from a man who clearly has all kinds of time on his hands, you say? Well, wait! There's more! El Chubaramo compared "The Twist" to the creation of the telephone as a groundbreaking moment. Pause to let that sink in. How does that come, Mr. Checker, that recording "The Twist" is as important as getting the first phone call from Alexander Graham Bell? Well, it's because, he said, it was the first time people were dancing "apart to the beat."

"Anyplace on the planet, when someone has a song that has a beat, they're on the floor dancing apart to the beat, and before Chubby Checker, it wasn't here, and I think that has a lot to do with me being on the charts," he said. Attention! Celebrity-referring-to-self-in-the-third-person alert!!

I know you might think I have a sense of folly, and I might open up a can of silly in the name of satire, only to have it close on Saturday night. But this is all true. Poppa Chubby inserts himself high atop the pantheon of rock's immortal performers, because, you see, before he came along, no one ever danced apart. I guess all those people who claimed to be doing the Charleston, the Big Apple and the Madison never really existed!

One last blast of Chubby's ego: "My music is less played than any performer that has been a No. 1 chart man on the planet," said Checker, who also had hits with "Pony Time," "The Fly" and "Let's Twist Again," which earned him a Grammy. "I don't get the respect that Rod Stewart gets, or the Rolling Stones, or Frankie Valli. ... But I have to deal with it."

Ah, Chubster, so do we all. As the noted novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." It's a past in which Chubby Checker was more important than the Rolling Stones, and General Tso was a great military leader in China who operated a chicken carryout on the side. And Art Deco was an interior designer, and Frankie Valli got respect? Who knew?
thanks to Yahoo! Entertainment for the original story!

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