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The night Chubby got Norwich twistin'

PUBLISHED: 14:38 07 February 2012 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 February 2012

chubby checker

chubby checker

Archant

Half a century on - let's twist again with the one and only Chubby Checker.

Are you ready? Come on Let’s Twist Again just like we did....fifty years ago. Believe it or not it was half a century ago, way back in 1962, that a certain Mr Chubby Checker had them twisting on the stage at the Norwich Theatre Royal.

He was the man at the heart of the new dance craze, described by some as “degenerate” which was sweeping the nation.

And when he arrived in Norwich among those waiting to greet him was none other than the police dog Tiny who was on duty outside the stage door to repel any teenage invasion.

The Evening News of the day reported how three local couples twisted on stage while the audience yelled and clapped as Chubby, the American king of the twisters, gave a pukka version of the dance he invented.

Our reviewer on the night – M.S.S. – reported how expensive seats - from 8s 6d to 12s 6d (under a £1 but a lot of money in those days) – may have kept some fans away.

M.S.S. was also of the opinion that Chubby’s new dance The Fly wouldn’t catch on.

Dancin Party and Let’s Twist Again were the most popular numbers on the night.

Also on the bill that night were “show stealers” The Kestrals, a vocal group who had the audience shouting for more after their hilarious Speedy Gonzales and Blue Moon routines.

Other stars included The Brook Brothers, backed by the Semi Tones, who scored with a new country and western song Seven Daffodils and the “easy-on-the-ear” duo Chas McDevitt and Shirley Douglas.

Rod Price and his orchestra provided the accompaniment and Bob Bain was the compere.

Sounds like a good night.

Were you there? Drop me a line at derek.james@archant.co.uk or call me on Norwich (01603) 772420.

Thank you to the man who made dancing easy for us all

The arrival of The Twist meant that grown-ups could dance to teenage music without looking complete idiots.

The jive was quite hard to master, especially for men with two left feet, but The Twist – you could get away with that.

But poor old Chubby – real name Ernest Evans – was quoted as saying: “In a way The Twist ruined my life. I was on my way to becoming a big nightclub performer, and The twist just wiped it out, It got so out of proportion. No one ever believes I have talent.”

They did – he went on to have a string of timeless hits. His music is still being played and people are still twisting the night away.

In 2008 The Twist – released in 1960 – was named as the biggest chart hit of all time by Billboard magazine which had looked at all the singles which made the hit parade between 1958 and 2008.

Chubby, is now in his 70s, – and still twistin’.

Many of us had a lot to thank Chubby for – he made dancing so much easier. We could all get away with twistin’ the night away.

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