Saturday, November 07, 2009

Chubby Checker to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of the Twist in Newnan , GA

Chubby Checker has chosen Historic Downtown Newnan as his Georgia location to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the legendary song “The Twist”. The Historic Alamo Theater will be the host of the legendary singer and his band the Wildcats on November 22, 2009 as a benefit concert for the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta. This will be Checker’s only show in Georgia. Other shows in the south will be in Mississippi and Florida .

Checker’s manager, Tommy C. chose the location on a recent visit to Georgia. He was immediately impressed with the look and the history of the venue and felt that downtown Newnan had the right “feel” for the celebration. He approached the owner about getting the City of Newnan on board as well as the local charities. Amy Murphy, co-owner of the Alamo says, “I couldn’t have thought of a better charity than the local Boys and Girls Club. They make such an impact in our community. When I approached Main Street Newnan, they immediately agreed to help and the event took off from there! How exciting for the citizens of Newnan to be able to see Chubby Checker perform in the same place that many of them used to come to the movies in high school.” Murphy and her partners returned the Alamo movie theater to an entertainment venue from a gift store five years ago.

In June of 1959, Chubby recorded "The Twist". Bernie Lowe, president of Cameo Parkway records was not initially impressed with Chubby's recording and felt it may be a "B" side at best. However, Chubby felt "The Twist" was something special and worked hard promoting the record by undertaking non-stop rounds of TV dates, interviews and live performances. Fourteen months later, in the summer of 1960, "The Twist" was a hit.

"The Twist" was not only the #1 song but it introduced the concept of "dancing apart to the beat". Over the next few years, endless songs incorporating "The Twist" into its name sprang up such as "Peppermint Twist", "Twist and Shout" and "Twistin' the Night Away". In addition, each new song brought a new dance involving "dancing apart to the beat" such as "The Jerk", "The Hully Gully", "The Boogaloo" and "The Shake". At the forefront was Chubby with "The Fly", "The Pony" and "The Hucklebuck".

The next few years were prolific for Chubby as hit followed hit. In 1961, Chubby recorded "Pony Time" written by Don Covay and John Berry. It went to #1 and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. In between recording and touring, Chubby took time to add feature films to his portfolio with the releases of "Don't Knock The Twist" and "Twist Around The Clock".

In the fall of 1961, record industry history was made when Checker's original hit record, "The Twist", re-entered the charts and by January of 1962, it was back in the #1 position. No other record before or since has accomplished that feat. Combining its 1960 run with its 1961/62 return, "The Twist" spent an amazing nine month total on the U. S. best seller charts.

Chubby Checker merchandise was everywhere, and included T-shirts, shoes, ties, dolls, raincoats, and chewing gum. His success continued for years with the release of one dance record after another, with "The Fly" and "Let's Twist Again", for which he won a Grammy for the "Best Rock Performance". More hit records followed. "Slow Twistin'", Dancin' Party", "Popeye the Hitchhiker" and "The Limbo Rock" all came along in 1962. 1963 saw Checker return to the hit parade with "Birdland" and "Twist It Up", after which he followed with "Loddy Lo" and a series of other novelty type tunes. Eventually, teens incorporated these movements to all songs that had a beat and called these movements "The Boogie", a permanent fixture in Rock and Roll.

Tickets will be $75, limited to 300 and will go on sale October 15th. They will be available at the Boys and Girls Club on Wesley Street , the Alamo , or Fabiano’s Pizza on West Court Square in downtown Newnan. Information is available by calling 770-683-2683.

The City of Newnan will be proclaiming November 23, 2009 “Chubby Checker Day”. The Adopt-A-Soldier Program will be holding an antique car show from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. the afternoon of November 22nd prior to the concert. The show will have a fifties and sixties theme and feature a twist contest and special prizes. For more information on the car show call 770-328-4763.
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