Rewinding the Charts: 53 Years Ago, 'The Twist' Took a Second Spin at No. 1
Chubby Checker's iconic single started a dance craze and made Billboard history when it topped the Hot 100 in 1960 and 1962.
"You had a chance to exploit your sexuality while being fully dressed," Chubby Checker said of his pop/R&B smash "The Twist" and its namesake hip-shaking dance in Billboard in 2013. "Before, that wasn't happening in music."
Beyond the song's immeasurable contribution to the evolution of seduction, "The Twist" boasts a vaunted chart feat: It's the only hit to top the Billboard Hot 100 in two separate chart cycles.
Born Ernest Evans, Checker was nicknamed "Chubby" at the age of 11 while growing up in South Philadelphia. He adopted his stage name in the late 1950s when American Bandstand host Dick Clark's wife Barbara suggested it as a tribute to Fats Domino.
He was just 18 when "The Twist" debuted on the Aug. 6, 1960 Hot 100. Seven weeks later, the song topped the chart. The track was his second of an eventual 32 career Hot 100 hits.
After falling off the chart in December 1960, "The Twist" continued to build buzz. Originally a hit with teens, its popularity spread to adult demos along with the dance craze. The track re-entered the Hot 100 on Nov. 18, 1961 and hit No. 1 again for two more weeks (Jan. 13-20) in 1962.
Thanks to its unique chart history, "The Twist" was ranked as the Hot 100's all-time No. 1 single when the chart celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2013. At the time, Checker, who's now 73 and still regularly performs live, told Billboard: "I'm so proud of how 'The Twist' has endured and even more thankful for how long my career has endured."
A version of this article first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of Billboard magazine.