Sure: The dance obsession that sprang up alongside Chubby Checker’s piano-driven “The Twist” and then the identical “Let’s Twist Again” is a national treasure in itself. The very first Grammy award was given to that latter song in 1962. But so be it.
So far, those accolades haven’t amounted to Checker earning a spot among those most legendary of rock legends at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. And at 72, Checker said he doesn’t have much time left to wait.
“I don’t want to get in there when I’m 85-years old,” he told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I’ll tell them to drop dead, so you better do it quick while I’m still smiling…. If you put me in when I’m too old to make a living, then it’s no good for me to be in there.”
He makes a decent point, adding: “The Rolling Stones, they’re in there. The Beastie Boys are in there, they’re young. Hall and Oates were just in there and they’re still making money.”
Perhaps they never intend to induct him at all. That would explain the stalling.
But we’ll always love you, Chubby.
Last month, as Hall and Oats were being inducted into the Rock Hall, Hall noted how they were the first Philadelphia band to make the museum. When Checker’s name came up, he wondered, “Why isn’t he in?”
One thing that can be said for Checker: He’s still going as strong as a 72-year-old can be expected to be, performing all throughout the world on a regular basis.
He made his comments about the Rock Hall on the red carpet just before performing “Let’s Twist Again” at the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame party. At that gala event, noted songwriter Kenny Gamble of the Gamble and Huff writing team wondered what was taking the RockHall so long: “He’s the only person I know to have the same song go to No. 1 twice.”
And he’s not letting down one bit. Just before a recent show in Missouri, Checker promised the same kind of excitement that held the nation rapt all those decades ago:
“It’s like a hurricane; it’s something you feel in the air. We get rockin’ and we don’t stop ’till there’s nothing left on the foundation. So many modern artists owe their mansions and viral followings to Checker, Checker said: “You look at Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Pharrell. Chubby Checker’s in all that….. We were in the right place at the right time. We changed everything. I’m not sure if it will ever happen again like that. It might, but it hasn’t for the past 50 years.”
[Image courtesy of Chubby Checker]