Shame on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Put it this way, there ain’t no real Rock Hall of Fame without Chubby Checker.
Mr. Checker showed what rock and roll is all about Tuesday at Savannah Center. This was a glorious, sweaty and explosive performance by singer who changed the course of rock history nearly a half-century ago with “The Twist.”
Checker has sold over 250 million records and “The Twist” is the No. 1 song of all time on the Billboard music charts. Still, for some unknown, unjust reason, Chubby Checker has not been inducted into the Hall.
Watch video from the show:
His fans don’t care – especially after watching Chubby blast through such hits as “The Twist,” “Let’s Twist Again” and “Pony Time.”
Before the night ended, nearly everyone was out of their seats, dancing in the aisles, near the front of the stage, and up in the balcony-like seats.
“Chubby is a legend,” said Villager Vanita Turner, who, during this wild, rocking night, found herself on stage dancing with Checker. “Chubby is the guy who put dancing into rock and roll. And the Twist will live forever.”
“The thing about Chubby is that he makes you want to get up and dance,” said Villager Patti Card. “And he looks younger today than he did before.”
Checker is 75 and among his legion of followers are generations that grew up twisting with mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa.
Pete Lynch is one of them.
He showed up at the concert with his wife, Tanisha, and their kids, Dillon, 10 and Emma 7. Also there were Pete’s parents, Claudia and Michael Lynch.
Little Dillon and Emma were twisting the night away.
“I like twisting,” said Emma.
“I saw it on video and it’s fun,” added Dillon.
Pete Lynch even went in the aisles and danced with the kiddies.
“For us, twisting is a family thing,” Pete said. “I grew up listening to the oldies with my mom and dad. Now my kids are growing up, and doing the twist. It will never die.”
Chubby Chucker was bursting with combustible energy all night long. He also showed his vocal skill on a variety of musical styles.
Checker sang a twangy country song , and a soft, tender ballad. He showed his R&B and blues side, covering Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” and then Thurston Harris’ “Little Bitty Pretty One.”
For good measure, Chubby displayed his early rock skill, ripping into Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.” Checker then delivered a hot medley that turned into a sing-a-long with “Blue Suede Shoes, “Rock Around the Clock,” “Whole Lot Of Shakin’” and “Twist and Shout.”
Chubby also did some of his own hits, including “The Limbo Rock” and “The Hucklebuck. Then he twisted around the aisles of Savannah Center, picking up a multitude of dance partners during “Slow Twistin’.”
But he saved the best for last.
Chubby all but blew up the roof with “The Twist.” The front of the stage and the rest of Savannah was packed with dancers. He came back to do “Let’s Twist Again,” and the joint kept jumping.
“It’s always great to play The Villages,” Checker said. “Everybody in The Villages has a lot of money. You live all these years and are successful – isn’t it cool? I’m happy to be with so many successful people.”
So were Rocky and the Rollers who opened the show.
The band seemed inspired to work with Chubby Chucker.
Al Morse was in vintage, soulful form singing Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and then a screaming, raucous version of Wilson Picket’s “Land of 1,000 Dances.”
Gerry “Rocky” Seader then paid tribute to the late Bobby Vee, who died this week.
“We played with Bobby many time; he was close to us,” Rocky said. “He was a good guy, great singer and one of the most gracious entertainers I’ve ever worked with.”
The Rollers performed one of Vee’s hits, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” with Jimmy Miller singing lead.
“We miss you Bobby,” Rocky said on stage. “And we won’t forget you.”