*Fifty years to the day after the release of the hip-swiveling tune “The Twist,” the man who made it famous celebrated the occasion in his hometown.
Chubby Checker performed Friday at a free noontime concert at Philadelphia City Hall. About 1,000 people joined in on the gyrations, some even invited onstage by the South Philadelphia-bred singer.
[Scroll down for old school footage of Chubby twisting on “American Bandstand” and his performance on Friday]
“The Twist,” released as a single on July 9, 1960, burst into the rock ‘n’ roll stratosphere after Checker performed it for Dick Clark on his Philadelphia-based “American Bandstand.”
Checker’s 1960 cover version of the Hank Ballard and the Midnighters song – released a year earlier to mild success – became a smash hit and turned the dance into a pop culture touchstone. It remains the only single to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts during two separate runs, in 1960 and again in 1962.
The dance popularized couples dancing apart to the beat of the music, a revolutionary idea that’s now the norm, Checker, 68, said.
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Check out Chubby’s performance at the noontime celebration in downtown Philly on Friday (07-09-10):