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Chubby Checker's the Twist in the 1960s: Dance Craze Nostalgia

I have many fond memories of growing up as a child in the 1950s in Wisconsin. The 1960s saw many changes including a family move to Texas.

My brothers and me in the heyday of the twist era, the 1960s

My brothers and me in the heyday of the twist era, the 1960s

Ah, Memories!

Nostalgic memories of the fun we had during the 1960s dancing The Twist made famous by Chubby Checker popped into my head the other day. Talk about terrific exercise and fun! That was a dance that accomplished it all!

Going back in time when I was in high school, I vividly remember slumber parties with my girlfriends when we would try out the various dance moves of the day and talk about the boys whom we wished would ask us for dates. Generally speaking, most of those wishes never came to fruition. But it did not stop our speculating and dreaming about what it would have been like to have dated this young man or that handsome fellow.

We would practice the dance moves so that we would be prepared for those dates if and when they would occur. The Twist was a favorite!

Chubby Checker

The song The Twist got almost everybody up on the floor dancing or at least wanting to dance. The picture at the top of this page shows my brothers and me during the 1960s. That was when Chubby Checker burst upon the scene with his hit single, The Twist. This picture was taken around 1965 or somewhere near that date.

Chubby Checker's real name was Ernest Evans, and he was born on October 3, 1941. One of his schoolmates was Fabiano Forte, who later became known as Fabian. I can clearly remember many a girl swooning over Fabian!

Working at the Produce Market in South Philadelphia, Ernest picked up his nickname of Chubby, which morphed into Chubby Checker for his first television broadcast.

Chubby Checker debuted at The Clay Cole Show in New York when he first introduced The Twist in July of 1960. He had many other hit songs through the years, which also became popular, some of which include the following: The Huckleback, The Fly, Dance the Mess Around, Pony Time, Let's Twist Again, Slow Twistin', Limbo Rock, and Twistin' USA.

My Dad

My Dad

My Dad's Dance Moves

Chubby Checker's The Twist got adults up on the dance floor and joining their teens in this dance. From a personal perspective, I can verify that it had my entire family up and learning how to do The Twist.

My Dad was an expert! He could not only do the dance moves as well as any teenager, but he could do it double time! It was so much fun having him join our twisting parties with not only family but some friends we had over as well. I am sure that he amazed my girlfriends with his aptitude for that particular dance.

My Dad was an excellent dancer in general. In performing the twist dance, he would not only be gyrating back and forth but lower himself almost to the floor by bending his knees and then slowly rise again, all the while keeping to the beat of the song.

The grin on his face while performing was priceless! My Dad was always a fun character, as most of my friends back then would attest. He was light on his feet and quite athletic in his day. That dance was also a great exercise. We were burning calories, toning our bodies, and having a blast at the same time, which was a winning combination. I am smiling just thinking back to those days of family fun and times we shared.

Photo of Chubby Checker singing at his wedding reception while his new bride, Catharina Lodders, dances with a guest. Chubby Checker was married in Philadelphia April 12, 1964.

Photo of Chubby Checker singing at his wedding reception while his new bride, Catharina Lodders, dances with a guest. Chubby Checker was married in Philadelphia April 12, 1964.

Other Dance Crazes in the 1960s

There were other dance crazes in the sixties. None of them were as crowd-pleasing and long-lasting as The Twist.

A few of the others included these: The Madison, Mashed Potato, The Mambo, The Pony, Watusi, The Monkey, The Swim, The Monster Mash, and The Locomotion.

Slow dancing and partners holding their other half will always be popular. But The Twist made it OK to go out on the dance floor unaccompanied and join in with the mass of others just enjoying the beat of the song and keeping time to the music.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this nostalgic look back into the 1960s when the dance craze The Twist by Chubby Checker broke onto the scene and impacted my life and many others around the globe.

Source:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 30, 2015:

Hello Druca Fate,

So glad you enjoyed the video showing Chubby Checker and his twist dance.

Druca Fate on December 30, 2015:

I adored the video! Many thanks for share it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

Glad you liked this hub about the twist and Chubby Checker. HP has not featured it due to quality. Perhaps it was too personal? Oh well! At least hubbers can still see it.

It is sizzling down here also. I also remember the summers up in Wisconsin when I was a child. No triple digit numbers like here in Texas back then. Stay cool up there!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 05, 2015:

Your father must have been doing the Peppermint Twist, another song and dance made famous by Chubby Checker. It was slightly more complicated and faster. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF80F79rywM

Voted up, interesting, and shared with followers.

Hope you are staying cool. We are into the triple digits daily and should peak at 107 in a couple of days. When I was growing up in Wisconsin 80 degrees was a hot day. Yesterday's low temp was 81.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2012:

Hi Charlu,

I'm in the same boat as you from the sounds of it. Easier to get down but not as easy to get back up with these aged knees. Ha! The twist was really fun and would still be good exercise if dancing to it today.

My dad was a fun and great guy in so many ways. Everybody loved him! Thanks for your comment and votes.

Charlu from Florida on April 05, 2012:

I use to love the twist and the "How low can you go?" from the song. Now if I tried that I'd be doing the commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up" I wonder how famous he would have been if he had used Ernest Evans?? Your dad sounds like a great guy. Voted all the ups except funny.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 19, 2011:

Hi Gail,

I have not had the occasion to try a hula hoop in a long time, but would probably not be able to do it either. Can still do the twist dance, however! :))

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 19, 2011:

Funny how our minds work. I thought of the hula hoop, too, when I read this hub. Yes, as a kid I was great at keeping that hoop going. Tried it several different times as an adult and absolutely couldn't do it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 19, 2011:

Hi Happyboomernurse,

I was also never the most coordinated person on the planet but could do the twist and at the time, a pretty good show of keeping a hula hoop going. Ha! My Dad did have a great smile. Thanks for your comment.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 18, 2011:

Wonderful, nostalgic hub about the twist which was one of the few dances I could do. I've always been uncoordinated, but as you said in this hub the twist was one of those dances that got almost everyone up and it could be done simply, or fancy and with flair as your dad apparantly did it.

Thanks for this fun trip down memory lane. You look gorgeous in that photo with your brothers and I love the picture of your dad. What a great smile!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 23, 2011:

Hello Sun-Girl,

Nice thing about the Twist is that even if not a great dancer in other respects, most people can do a fairly credible Twist dance. And...it's fun! Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for your comment.

Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 23, 2011:

Great hub which i so much like though i can't really dance well but that doesn't mean i can,t twist what my mama gave to me.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2011:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

I know what you mean about our knees not being what they were when younger and enjoying the dance craze of Chubby Checker's twist. Those were the days! Ha! Thanks for the comment.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on April 03, 2011:

Peggy, i remember doing the twist. I bet if my knees could stand it it would be a heck of a workout. What a way to shed weight. That must be why I was so slender growing up, I was always doing the twist. Thanks for the memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2011:

Hi Pat,

Actually it makes sense that doing the twist would be easier in sock clad feet as opposed to shoes...unless it was a smooth leather bottom and nicely waxed surface dance floor. Oh...those were the days...the 1960's! Haha!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on January 26, 2011:

Hi Peggy,

When "The Twist" first came out I was too young to go to dances. The boy next door was about 3 or 4 years older, and he announced that we would teach outselves how to dance the twist. We practised in his mother's kitchen on the polished floor. I wore socks on my feet and soon I could do it really well.

Some time later my mother said that I could go to a dance. To my surprise, it was much harder to dance the twist wearing shoes!

Happy days - thanks for the memory.

Pat

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 19, 2011:

Hi Tony,

40+ years ago now when Chubby Checker broke out with that dance craze, the twist. The 1960's...doesn't seem that long ago but like your knees...mine tell me that it was a while back. Haha!

Tony McGregor from South Africa on January 19, 2011:

Ah yes! What a wave of nostalgia for those days of fun and dancing! Can you believe we're talking 40 years ago! No wonder my knee is aching right now!

Thanks for the memories.

Love and peace

Tony

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2010:

Hi Micky,

You can come back and visit this Chubby Checker hub about The Twist dance popular in the 1960's and afterwards anytime you like. :-)

Micky Dee on December 02, 2010:

Peggy, I was wandering around, got lost and wound right back here where I've been before! I'll just have to dance on some buttons and find another! God bless you Dear!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2010:

Hi billyaustindillon,

Ah yes...the twist and older knees (speaking of mine) don't seem to go together as well as younger knees. Oh well...still brings a smile to my face.

billyaustindillon on July 23, 2010:

A classic dance - had fun doing the twist but I don;t think my knees appreciate it now, One of the best renditions is the twist scene from Pulp Fiction - classic.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2010:

Not weird at all. Nostalgic! :-)

oscillationatend from a recovering narcissist. on May 13, 2010:

Well, in these times..kinda hard to justify having such large machines when an iPod can do both. I miss it, though. Especially the sight and sound..smell..I know, weird.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2010:

Hi oscillationatend,

I know that when my parents and grandparents moved to Texas from Wisconsin, many things were also left behind. We used to have a great rec room in our basement with ping pong table, etc. My dad's mother had a pinball machine in her basement. Have no idea what happened to it either.

oscillationatend from a recovering narcissist. on May 13, 2010:

Sadly, Peggy, when we ventured west to California we departed with much of our oversized possessions. The Jukebox I'm sure is still kicking around in a parlor, though.

There was also three arcade cabinets and a pinball game...I really have no idea how we ended up with such a basement of fun.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 12, 2010:

Hi oscillationatend,

Do you still have that jukebox and the twist 45 record? Would probably be a collector's item by now. I got rid of all my old 45's years ago.

oscillationatend from a recovering narcissist. on May 12, 2010:

I love the twist--great song. We had a 45 of it in this old jukebox that my dad somehow acquired when I was younger.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 23, 2010:

Hi Ben,

You ARE indeed a charmer! :-) As to "The Madison"...never did that one so I can't help you with that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBeAqPwmZx8 Here is a link for you regarding The Madison. You will now know as much as I do. Looks like fun!

Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 23, 2010:

Hey Peggy, on the way to the South Dakota Vacation article of yours I got distracted by the hottie in the bullet bra! Lo and behold it's you! What a looker! Anyway, great hub, it must have been something to here this song on the radio, the first to really break out of couples/swing dancing, what a great time to be alive. I've always been a fan of Chubby's "I want to walk you home song." I sing it myself all the time. I also want to know, what "The Madison" dance was?

Ben

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2010:

Hi BkCreative,

Hearing Chubby Checker and the Twist certainly is nostalgic for many of us. I would have joined you in that street fair! A Twist Party.......sounds like FUN!!!!! :-) Thanks for your great comments.

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on February 15, 2010:

Love the twist - it is time to bring it back because it was a dance almost anyone can do. Perhaps it is time for me to have a twist party. Hmmm.

Anyway last summer a friend and I went to a street fair and one vendor actually played Chubby on the best sound system ever. I tell you I was not embarrassed to step out there by myself and do the twist - even mix it up a bit. It just does that to me.

Oh, yes, it's time for a party!

Thanks for this fun hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 20, 2010:

Hello Truth From Truth,

Yes, Chubby Checker's Twist and Shout song certainly does get a group up and moving! Thanks for the fun comment.

Truth From Truth from Michigan on January 20, 2010:

Twist and shout was an excellent song, it gets crowds going when they play it at basketball games. Twist and shout along with many other songs of his are in many movies also.

Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 13, 2010:

Hi Sally's Trove,

Since you were introduced to the Twist at the YMCA, you know how much fun that dance could be. Thanks for the mention of my Dad. He was so much fun! Enjoyed your comment.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on January 13, 2010:

What a great look back in time. I remember trying the Twist as a young teenager at our local YMCA, as part of a summer activities program. Bless the director of that program! She had our adolescent selves getting on with the music.

LOVE the photo of and the words about your dad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi Rose,

Glad that this twist dance article brought back good memories for you. Good for you...still doing the Twist when it is played! Thanks for the comment and enjoy your dancing.

Rose Kolowinski on January 03, 2010:

Thanks for the memories, Peggy! I'm more of a country dancer, but I still get out and do the Twist whenever it is played!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hello jill of alltrades,

I agree! Those nostalgic days of dancing the twist and listening to Chubby Checker just do not seem that long ago...although more than a few years have definitely passed. Glad you enjoyed this and keep dancing the twist!

jill of alltrades from Philippines on January 03, 2010:

Ha ha...that dates us, but so what, I also enjoyed the twist and all of those other moves! Those were really fun days!

Thanks for bringing up those happy memories Peggy! I love dancing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 01, 2010:

Hello The Old Hack,

Haha! I can relate to that remark! Lots of bobbing up and down in my day also. At least the twist had some actual moves that defined it from some of that other "dancing." Thanks for the comment.

The Old Hack on January 01, 2010:

It sounds great fun. I was bought-up during the disco era when everyone lost the ability to dance and just bobbed up and down to the music.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 30, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

Golden oldies indeed! The Twist dance and others from the 1960's certainly qualify as such. Thanks for the comment.

loveroflife on December 30, 2009:

Great memories of the golden oldies.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 30, 2009:

Hi Dolores,

You undoubtedly get enough exercise on a daily basis without thoughts of doing the twist. Ha! But fun to remember that dance and others...right? Thanks for the comment.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 30, 2009:

Peggy, I remember doing the Twist as well as some of those other dances, the Pony and the Swim and I dimly recall one called the Watusi. Nowadays just the thought of doing the Twist gives me a back ache!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hello bearclawmedia,

Happy to hear that you also enjoyed dancing the twist by Chubby Checker. That was so much fun! Thanks for the comment.

bearclawmedia from Mining Planet Earth on December 29, 2009:

You are the best, I love your hubs. Yes, I danced the twist. Thanks again

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Mike,

Enjoyed your ending..."As Bob Hope used to sing, Thanks for the memories." Memories of Chubby Checker's twist dance and the 1960's does it for me! That home movie your parents made is such a fun reminder of your early years. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on December 29, 2009:

My parents have some home movies of me as a small boy dancing so vigorously to the Twist I lost my balance. I remember the Monster Mash and the Locomotion, but not how to do them. Anyone remember an old Elvis movie called "Girl Happy"? He sang a song called "Do the Clam," or something like that, and I remembered reading the film's producers hoped it would become another dance craze. But, it never did....

As Bob Hope used to sing, Thanks for the memories. This was a fun hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hello GNelson,

Happy to have brought back memories for you of Chubby Checker's the twist. As to going to a barn dance...no. That is something I've missed. Have you gone to barn dances? Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi dahoglund,

Much as I enjoyed dancing, I married a guy who is not crazy about it. So I am very much out of practice these days. Nice thing about the twist...one does not need a partner! Ha! You mentioned the polka. Now THAT is an energetic dance that will get the heart pumping! Did just a little of that in earlier days. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Celesta,

Nice to see you here! You mentioned so many of those other dances that were also popular around the same time as the twist. Are you teaching Cain any of them? Good and fun exercise as you mentioned. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Micky Dee,

Yes...there are apparently many others who also enjoyed the dance craze, the twist. Were you one of them? Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Greetings Kathryn Plasencia,

Good for you!...twisting with your kids. As you said, it is great exercise and so much fun at the same time. Guess The Twist Dance will stay alive as long as people like you keep introducing it to the next generation. Chubby Checker started something that has taken on a life of its own. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Ethel,

So you and your Dad also enjoyed The Twist. Nice! Let's not talk about the old knees...OK? I'd rather think about the days when mine were also more limber. Ah...Youth! :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Pete,

Those days of dancing the Twist and the other ones you mentioned were fun, weren't they! Sounds like you tried almost all of them out. Still dance any of them?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hello DiamondRN,

Congratulations on winning those twist contests! Obviously you and Gayle were very good doing that fun dance together. Happy to have sparked this fun memory for you, and thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Hello, hello,

Yes, those were carefree days for many of us who enjoyed the 1960's and Chubby Checker's Twist dance. Fun times! Glad you enjoyed them also. Thanks for the comment.

GNelson from Florida on December 29, 2009:

Wow! Brings back memories. Ever go to a barn dance?

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on December 29, 2009:

I remember Chubby Checkers and always liked rock a billy and other such music. I'm afraid I am not a very good dancer. Partners tended to avoid me when it came to polkas or anything more complicated than the Lindy.

Celesta on December 29, 2009:

Your waist tells the story. Good exercise for the waistline. I still dance. I like the Monkey, Jerk, Mash Potato, Pony, Hucklebuck and the Fly. Any of these dance maneuvers will give you a good work out.

This is a good hub, Peggy...Just keep on dancing the night away!

Micky Dee on December 29, 2009:

Lot of "twisters" here! Thanks

Kathy Plasencia from Harrisburg on December 29, 2009:

LOVE this! Thank you! I may only be in my 20s, but I do the twist with my kids all the time. It's a great way to exercise my mommy hips and act silly with the little ones at the same time. And now I have links to the video so they'llno I'm not just making it up =P

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on December 29, 2009:

I can't dance but I can twist. Well if my old knees will let me these days.

Yes my Dad liked to twist also.

Pete Maida on December 29, 2009:

I like The Twist. I really like the Jerk and The Monkey. Mickey's The Monkey I think was the best song of all of the dance songs follow by the Locomotion.

Bob Diamond RPh from Charlotte, NC USA on December 29, 2009:

Thanks for the memory, Peggy.

When I was in high school we would have dances on Friday nights after the football games. There was almost always a Twist contest. Me and my partner Gayle were frequent winners. What a blast!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 29, 2009:

Oh, Peggy, you bringing back all my youth. Thank you and it was such a lovely time. We were so carefree.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2009:

Hi Candie,

Thanks for the condolences. Yes...I could definitely tell some stories and may work on that in the future.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on December 28, 2009:

Ah Peggy, I'm so sorry to hear that! You probably have some stories of them you could share?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2009:

Hi Candie,

Hula hoops were also fun! Loved doing that as well as doing the Twist. Per your question...sad to say...both of my brothers have gone on to the next life. Not fair as I am the oldest! I'll agree with you that they were both handsome fellows. Thanks!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on December 28, 2009:

OOOOH!! What fun!! I can't dance worth a lick, but for those that can.. this is fun! Funny tho, cuz I could hula hoop like crazy! Kinda the same hip twirl thing!! By the way.. you have handsome brothers... are they.. um... available.. per chance?? HAHAHA!! (ok, I'm not kidding)